After a glorious, shandy-filled summer, it’s finally time to replace those fruit beers and brisk lagers with darker brews and pumpkin ales. Fall is here, people, and your beer and cider selections look very promising.
Why reach for your familiar brands? Shake things up this season and try out some new varieties. We’ve rounded up 19 of the best beers to watch out for this season.
Nine Awesome Ales
If you prefer something straight from the source, Great Pumpkin Ale from Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, uses 4,000 pounds of sugar pumpkins to make its brew, as brewmaster Will Meyers prefers to stay away from extracts and purées.
Secondly, who better to trust for a great pumpkin beer than a brewery that’s been brewing it since 1985? Buffalo Bill’s Brewery is known for its Pumpkin Ale, but it also offers a Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout available in 22-ounce bottles.
Troy Wennet, beverage manager at 61 Local in Brooklyn, New York, recommends sipping on Soul Surfer Belgian Pale Ale and Bug Bite English Pale Ale this season. “[These] two hyper-local breweries [are] making some excellent beer. They represent examples of who we strive to support in our community, of who we are proud to serve as a public house.” In the next few months, S4 Classic Saison and Henry's Farm Barrel-Aged Doppelbock will also be added to the list.
Six Serious Stouts
If Oktoberfest beers are your drinks of choice, check out Munsterfest from 3 Floyds Brewing Company. Every September, the Floyd family releases this Bavarian-style Oktoberfest made with “the finest German ingredients in accordance with the German Purity Law.”
Another beer in the Oktoberfest category is Mahrs Bräu. Each autumn, Sierra Nevada works with a German brewer to create a twist on the classic Oktoberfest, and this year, it’s teamed up with Bamberg, Germany’s Mahrs Bräu to create a crisp, caramel brew.
Gerard Leary, owner of New York craft beer bar One Mile House, suggests adding Founders Breakfast Stout to your must-try list. “This stout has overloads of Kona and Sumatra coffee and sweetened and bitter chocolates. The addition of flaked oats gives this beer a beautiful creamy mouthfeel. Decadent treat for the chillier autumn nights,” Leary says.
If you’re as crazy about coffee cocktails as we are, it might be time to give coffee stout a try. Claiming to be one of the original coffee-infused stouts on the market, AleSmith’s Speedway Stout is bursting with flavors of caramel, dark roast coffee and chocolate.
Lead bartender Gen Longoria from Tre Rivali and The Outsider restaurants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is pairing beers with your favorite chocolate candies, including Crème Brûlée Stout and Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. “The rich, fatty feel of chocolate melting combined with the lively bite of beer’s carbonation creates a round, full flavor and full mouthfeel experience,” Longoria says.
One Spicy Saison
If you’re looking for a darker grain, Megan Saxelby from Beer Table in New York City recommends Fall Saison from Blackberry Farm. Though it’s a spice-driven blend, it also provides a hint of sweetness.
Three Well-Balanced Ciders
Made with mashed pumpkins and chai tea, the Pumpkin Blend from Downeast Cider House in Boston, Massachusetts, is back for the second year in a row. Every sip tastes like freshly picked apples with hints of clove, cinnamon and allspice. Keeping it within New England, Vermont’s Shacksbury introduced cans of its dry and semi-dry ciders earlier this summer that offer a balance of acidity and sweetness.