10 Best Fall Beers With No Pumpkin
That couldn't be further from the truth.
While the time for fresh-hop beers and Oktoberfest is nearly done and pumpkin beers have until about Thanksgiving before they're pushed aside for wintry holiday offerings, there are some autumn beers that fall between the two just perfectly. If you haven't noticed already, this is the time of year the beers get a little darker, the flavors get a little maltier and the finish gets just a bit warmer.
There are beers that do all of that without overdosing on hops or smelling like a spice rack. We went through the best of the rest and found 10 fall-friendly beers to get you through the rest of the season:
Northeast breweries can become a bit of an afterthought in the summer and winter months, but fall is when this region comes through as beautifully as its foliage. Much like a Samuel Adams (SAM) Octoberfest, Hooker's Octoberfest uses a little bit of creative license with the Oktoberfest lager style.
It's not cooled in caves, it's not being downed to clear out the summer stock. It's just loaded with toasted malt, blessed with a saccharine-sweet maple aroma and teeming with subtle caramel flavor. It's a mild, malty way of welcoming a season stuffed with beers of this sort, but Hooker has perhaps the best handle on this distinctly New England Octoberfest take.
Long Trail Brewing
Bridgewater Corners, Vt.
The word "harvest" is a bit tricky in beer parlance.
For some brewers, it's connected to the hop harvest and is a signal that a hoppy, citrusy brew awaits. Long Trail goes the other way on that and applies its Harvest tag to a mild, malty brown ale. It flows over a drinker's palate with hints of brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup and roasted nuts and, at 3.6% ABV, is just mild enough to warrant more than one by the fire on a crisp Vermont evening.
Weyerbacher's far better known around this time of year for its imperial pumpkin ale, but its interpretation of an Oktoberfest style also warrants some attention.
Closer to an American amber or red than a Vienna lager, the copper Autumn Fest blends Vienna and Munich malts in a stab at Bavarian authenticity. It doesn't quite get there, but the roasted malt flavor, carmel finish and light feel are much softer than its 5.4% ABV potency would let on. It's not a heavy-hitting fall beer, but it's not offensive, either. Just a mild sipper that's a good transition to winter porters and stouts.