10 Great (Non-Pumpkin) Beers for Fall
From marzens to imperial stouts, these beers will help you usher in sweater weather
In recent years, “fall flavor” has come to be synonymous with pumpkin. As soon as August rolls around, we’re bombarded with pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin-scented candles, and of course, pumpkin beer. But if big, orange gourds aren’t your thing, you’ve still got plenty of other seasonal styles of beer to choose from once summer fades and things start to cool off, whether it’s an Oktoberfest, a red ale, or something dark and boozy to keep you nice and cozy like an imperial stout.
With that in mind, we’re steering clear of pumpkin for the purposes of this list. (Stay tuned next week for a pumpkin beer round-up.) These 10 beers are perfect for just about any fall activity, whether it’s the Instagram-worthy stuff like hayrides and apple-picking trips or the utterly mundane, like cracking open your windows, feeling the crisp air and then cracking open a cold one to celebrate the fact that you no longer need to keep the air conditioning on. Whatever you happen to be doing, it’s made better by a fall beer; check out some of our favorites below.
Breckenridge Brewery Autumn Ale
This Colorado brewery’s fall seasonal is a brown ale brewed with Munich malts and Bavarian hops, and it’s perfect for nursing while sitting around a campfire. It’s got a nuttiness to it, along with hints of molasses, caramel and a warm booziness that’ll keep you from getting too chilly while you’re making those s’mores.
Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. Oktoberfest
As you might have guessed, in-person Oktoberfest celebrations are canceled this year due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate at home by indulging in one of these German-style märzens. It’s a well-balanced blend of German malt and Noble hops, and it has a nice, rich biscuity flavor without being cloyingly sweet.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Oktoberfest
Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest is another extremely well-executed example of the style. It’s a little stronger than the Wallenpaupack in terms of both ABV and spice, and it’s got a nice malty flavor with hints of toffee and caramel and an earthy finish.
Night Shift Phone Home Peanut Butter Porter
You probably won’t be seeing too many trick-or-treaters this year, but that shouldn’t stop you from putting on a scary movie at home and drink a beer that tastes like Halloween candy. Inspired by E.T.’s love of Reese’s, this porter has notes of peanut butter, chocolate and a touch of hazelnut, and the peanut butter flavor especially delivers on its promise without being overpowering.
Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break
If fall makes you immediately think of apple-cider doughnuts, but perhaps you’d rather swap the cider doughnut for one sweet and chocolatey enough to inspire a dark, massively boozy beer. Imperial Doughnut Break from Evil Twin fits the bill. Its high ABV and rich flavors of coffee, chocolate and vanilla make this one to be savored slowly, perhaps as post-Thanksgiving dessert or after you’ve finished raking leaves on the first chilly day of the year.
North Coast Brewing Co. Old Rasputin
This popular Russian imperial stout is absolutely worthy of its legendary status. It’s a thick, creamy beer perfect for those crisp fall nights when you’re looking for something that’ll stick to your bones, with an intense roasted malt flavor and hints of coffee and cocoa.
Harpoon Flannel Friday
This well-balanced seasonal amber ale blends bready malt with citrusy hops, making it the perfect beer to transition from those last few warm days of summer to the early, temperate beginnings of fall. It’s extremely drinkable, with the malt and hops working in tandem instead of competing for your attention, and it’s got slight traces of caramel as well.
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
As you can probably surmise from the name, this award-winning twist on a European brown ale is heavy on the hazelnut. But besides that, you’ll find some chocolate notes and traces of toasted grains, along with some earthy hops that come through on the finish.
Maine Beer Company Fall Coffee Stout
Maine’s fall seasonal keeps it to the point — it’s simply called “Fall,” and after you try it you’ll have to agree that the name is apt. It’s an extremely tasty stout brewed with cold brew coffee, and it’s also got hints of molasses, dark chocolate, cedar and citrus.
Bell’s Best Brown Ale
Bell’s is arguably better known for its excellent summer seasonal, Oberon, but its autumn offering is no slouch either. Best Brown Ale is, in fact, one of the best brown ales out there — it’s smooth, toasty and well-balanced, with a hint of caramel and a pleasant, nutty finish.
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