As the weather cools and the leaves begin to change, we find autumn upon us. Cooler nights call for heartier beers, more flavorful and more substantial than the typical light brews of summer. Maltier flavors and deeper colors abound in autumn beers, making them perfect for the harvest season. Below, I have listed out my top five favorite autumn beers, beers for all autumn occasions. Be it a deep Halloween beer or a hearty Oktoberfest beer, below everyone will find a brew they enjoy. I have personally enjoyed every beer on the list, and trust you will as well:
1) Post Road Pumpkin Ale – the perfect Halloween beer
Pumpkin brews help define the fall, and the Post Road Pumpkin Ale is one of the best of the bunch. The perfect Halloween beer, Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale sports an amber-orange color and deep pumpkin and spice aromas pleasant to the senses.
The caramel and pumpkin malt flavors blend well together and do not overwhelm the palate. The beer is very drinkable, and it is easy to enjoy several one after another without tiring of the flavor. Post Road Pumpkin Ale has a dry, hoppy bite with an earthy finish, perfect for pairing with food. This pumpkin ale makes a great Halloween beer, pairing well with the typical pumpkin fare (usually of the desert variety!) of autumn.
This seasonal beer sells for around $2 / 12 oz. and is 5% alcohol by volume.
2) Samuel Adams Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest, the German festival of the autumn harvest, defines the fall. This festival is toasted worldwide with a hearty Oktoberfest beer. Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer is available throughout the United States and is an excellent autumn beer choice.
Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer is made by altering their more traditional pale ale recipe. Extra toasted malts deepen the color, boost the alcohol content, and give the Oktoberfest beer a slightly nutty, malty sweetness.
The American interpretation of the Oktoberfest beer, Sam Adams Oktoberfest enjoys a rich amber color with subtle flavors of honey-roasted peanuts and toffee. The crisp lager finish makes this selection perfect for the cooler nights of autumn.
This Oktoberfest beer sells for $1.50 / 12 oz. and is 5.7% alcohol by volume.
3) Old Stock Ale
North Coast Brewing Company’s signature Old Ale, Old Stock Ale is an excellent choice for autumn. Old Ales are low attenuated beers with high levels of dextrins, creating a full body malt. Like a good wine, Old Stock Ale gets better with time and can be stored up to 5 years.
Old Stock Ale has a deep brownish-red color and large head which dissipates quickly. The brew smells of caramel, apples, and raisins. Dessert-like in flavor, Old Stock Ale tastes of rum-soaked raisins and brandied cherries. This ale finishes drier than it starts. As an alternative to candy, try this as a Halloween beer and skip the sugary calories.
Old Stock Ale sells for $4 / 12 oz. and is 12.5% alcohol by volume.
4) Spaten Oktoberfest – the best Oktoberfest beer
Spaten introduced the Oktoberfest beer style back in 1873. Brewed in Munich, Spaten’s Oktoberfest is considered by many to be the best Oktoberfest beer. This beer is stronger and maltier than a standard lager.
Spaten’s Oktoberfest is brassy in color. This beer offers aromas of multi-grain toast, butter, honey, and alcohol. The hop bitterness is subdued, making it easy on the palate. As the classic Oktoberfest beer, this one is definitely worth a try.
The beer is extremely drinkable, great to have around in September and October. Spaten’s Oktoberfest is an excellent selection for a Halloween beer, easily drinkable with appropriate alcohol content that will not overwhelm Halloween party guests.
Spaten’s Oktoberfest beer is $2 / 12oz. and 5.9% alcohol by volume.
5) Goose Island Harvest Ale
A deep copper color, Goose Island’s Harvest Ale enjoys a juicy, piney hoppiness. Pine, gum, and a sugary sweetness (almost apricot) give this ale an excellent aroma.
A caramel malt flavor combined with flavors of baked bread make Goose Island’s Harvest Ale great for autumn. The bitterness gives way to a dry, crisp maltiness with a touch of sweetness.
This is an excellent choice, available nationwide, for a cool autumn evening. Though not an Oktoberfest beer or a suitable pumpkin Halloween beer, Goose Island’s Harvest Ale offers an excellent flavor for an evening or camaraderie and relaxation.
Goose Island Harvest Ale is $1.50 / 12oz. and 5.6% alcohol by volume.
Fall typically calls for a heartier, maltier flavor than the light beers of summer. Outlined above are 5 great autumn beers, great for all fall occasions. Be it a rich pumpkin Halloween beer or an deeper Oktoberfest beer, fall beers offer a richness not found in summer, and perfect as the leaves change and the temperatures fall.
Post Road Pumpkin Ale – Brooklyn Brewery
Samuel Adams Oktoberfest – Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Old Stock Ale – North Coast Brewing Co.
Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen
Harvest Ale – Goose Island