Rockin’ Chair Red Ale by Backyard Brewing Co.
Imperial Amber, 8 percent ABV, $4-5 on tap, $8.99 for a 750-millilter bottle at Khoury’s Fine Wine, BJ’s Brewhouse, Aces & Ales and the Freakin’ Frog.
Why Brian is drinking it: Brewer Russell Gardner “has put together a complex beer that has a blast of hops on the nose with a hint of light, citrus fruit. This continues to the taste but his use of malts yields a sweet, caramel finish that lingers on the taste buds. I’m drinking this because it is truly a one-of-a-kind beer not available elsewhere in Nevada.”
Pair with: Hearty barbecue or a marbled rib-eye. Hard cheese such as a Parmigiano-Reggiano brings out the flavor, too.
Bitches Brew Pumpkin Ale by Big Dog’s Brewing Co.
Specialty Ale, 5 percent ABV, available on tap for $4.75 (16 ounces) at any of Las Vegas’ three Big Dog’s locations in late October.
Why Brian and Chris are drinking it: “We look forward to Halloween time for just this reason: pumpkin ales. [Brewer] Dave Otto nails this style by putting 300 pounds of fresh pumpkin into the batch and accents with cinnamon, nutmeg and other secret spices. You’ve got to be quick to get this one as the tap is on auto-pour until it runs out after a few weeks.”
Pair with: “We like to drink this as an anytime beer; it stands on its own. It pairs nicely with a hearty vegetable soup as well.”
Hop Ride IPA by Tenaya Creek Brewery
India Pale Ale (IPA), 7.2 percent ABV, available on tap at Tenaya Creek Brewery for $6 (20 ounces) with bottling planned for October or November.
Why Chris is drinking it: “One of the most balanced IPAs I’ve had in a while. I’ve always been a ‘hop-head’ and enjoy the bitterness that comes with gratuitous use of American hops. [Brewer Anthony Gibson’s] Hop Ride uses a good amount of malts that yield a sweeter aftertaste.”
Pair with: A spicy pasta dish, some Buffalo hot wings or a really sharp cheese. Says Brian, “The hop bitterness in the Hop Ride amplifies the hot flavors.”