Tap into the season: Columbia craft beers for fall festivities

River Rat’s Oktoberfest
River Rat’s Oktoberfest provided photo

Its the most wonderful time of the year... to drink beer. Fall is full of season’s greetings, gatherings and gift giving. And if a scented candle isn’t your style, maybe a six-pack of Columbia’s finest craft beer will do. We looked at Columbia’s three local breweries – River Rat, Conquest and Swamp Cabbage – and choose seasonal beers that best fit the scenario that we’ll all encounter at least once in the coming months.

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Swamp Cabbage’s Dunkelweizen provided photo

Best beer to sip on the porch: Swamp Cabbage’s Dunkelweizen

“It’s a dark German wheat beer, and it’s our true fall seasonal that we market out,” says Doug Boyd, co-founder and head brewer. “Even though it’s dark, it drinks light. It’s like an Oktoberfest beer: Very malty but it’s a wheat beer. It’s something you don’t want to down, but one to drink on.”

Honorable mentions: Conquest’s Brutus Imperial Stout and River Rat’s Oktoberfest

Best beer to drink all day and night: River Rat’s Victim

“It’s something we never brewed before, and it turned out really great,” says Lauren Sandberg, tap room manager. “With as many light and dark beers we have on tap, it hits right in the middle,” she says, adding, “It’s definitely one you could have more than one of and not feel full.”

Honorable mentions: Conquest’s Berliner Weisse and Swamp Cabbage’s Harvest Amber

Best beer to take to a tailgate: River Rat’s Oktoberfest

“It’s a nice session beer,” Sandberg says. “We have it in cans so you can carry them easily. And it’s a Märzen-style lager [similar to an amber lager] so it’s crisp.”

Honorable mentions: Conquest’s Coconut Porter and Swamp Cabbage’s Dunkelweizen

Beer with the highest ABV: Conquest’s Sacred Heartier

“It’s a double IPA, and it’s really, really hoppy,” says Matthew Ellisor, head brewer. “It’s 10.5% ABV so it’s a big beer. You get tropical fruitiness from the hops. It doesn’t taste like it’s 10.5% ABV.”

Honorable mentions: River Rat’s Helles Bock (7.5% ABV) and Swamp Cabbage’s Dunkelweizen (4.8% ABV)

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Conquest’s Barrel aged Brutus Imperial Stout Dwaun Sellers

Best brew to take for a party: Conquest’s Barrel aged Brutus Imperial Stout

“It’s a special beer,” says Mike Taylor, Conquest’s president. “It’s one of our top tiers. You’re getting the oak tannins out of the barrel and the bourbon infusion into the imperial stout.”

Honorable mentions: River Rat’s Moncks Corner Abbey Ale and Swamp Cabbage’s Merry Cinnamas

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River Rat’s Winter Warmer provided photo

Best beer to give as a gift: River Rat’s Winter Warmer

“Everyone always looks forward to our Winter Warmer because of the flavor,” Sandberg says. “The cinnamon, the nutmeg ... it just reminds you of Thanksgiving and Christmas and family and warmth and fireplaces and what snow we do get sometimes. We’re canning it for the first time this year, and the cans look awesome. Pair it with a T-shirt or gift card and you’re good.”

Honorable mentions: Conquest’s The Finisher and Swamp Cabbage’s Merry Cinnamas

Conquest Brewing: 947 S Stadium Rd. (803) 814-1992, www.conquestbrewing.com

River Rat Brewey: 1231 Shop Rd. (803) 724-5712, www.riverratbrewery.com

Swamp Cabbage Brewery: 921 Brookwood Dr. (803) 939-2589, www.swampcabbagebrewing.com