The Best Fall Beer Styles
Autumn is finally here, and as the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color, our beer style preference begins to change as well. We say goodbye to the pale ales and crisp pilsners we enjoyed all summer long, and search for darker beers with a stronger mouthfeel and higher ABV; the types of beers that can help warm you up while you sit on the couch and watch Sunday football. So what are the best beer styles to be brewing and/ or buying this fall? Here are our top picks:
Red ales are the perfect fall beer, and not just because the color of the beer matches the leaves outside. This style typically boasts a toasted malt profile, and the hop profile can be extremely varied depending on who is brewing it. This balanced brew can also be called an Amber Ale, or an American Amber. If you want to try your hand at brewing this malty beer yourself, check out our newest fall seasonal: Imperial Red Ale. This refill will give you a beer with a rich, dark red hue and a full body. Not your typical red ale, this brew has double the standard malt and hops, giving you a robust, sweet, toasted malt character that is hard to resist. If you are looking to buy a red ale in stores, keep an eye out for some of our favorites such as New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale, Green Flash Brewing's Hop Head Red Ale, or Lagunita's Imperial Red Ale.
Marzenbiers, or Oktoberfests, are the preferred beer of Munich, Germany's Oktoberfest. They are full-bodied and rich with typically a dark copper color. If you can't be in Germany this October celebrating, you might as well bring the party to you by drinking a few Oktoberfest brews this weekend. If you are looking to brew some yourself, you can stay true-to-character by brewing our Oktoberfest refill, or you can branch out and brew one of our most popular recipes, Oktoberfestivus. Both beers will have the traditional amber malt flavors, smooth body, and deep amber color you would expect in a Marzenbier. Commercial favorites for this style include Sierra Nevada Brewery's Oktoberfest, Surly Brewing's SurlyFest, and Victory Brewing Company's Festbier.
We know, we know, IPA lovers are going to argue that this beer style is great any time of the year. While the hop lovers here at Mr. Beer would be inclined to agree, many think IPAs are best drank in the fall season. The kick of the hops is perfect to combat the colder weather. We lean more towards the American IPA style for the fall, which (obviously) boasts a heavy hop profile but can range in color from pale golden to amber. If you want to brew a traditional American IPA, our Diablo IPA refill should be the next thing in your keg. This beer has a fiery amber color with an intense mouthfeel, with floral spice and stonefruit aromas... and, of course, lots of hoppy bitterness. It isn't hard to find an American IPA in your local grocery store since the style is so popular right now. If we had to pick a favorite, we like Dogfish Head Brewery's 60 minute IPA, Ballast Point Brewing's Sculpin IPA, and Stone Brewing's Stone IPA.
Contrary to its name, ESB brews are all about balance and don't typically have an overpowering bitterness. These beers will usually have a higher ABV and a strong hop character, and the color can vary from dark golds to copper. You can also expect the malt character to very pronounced and toasty. If you are looking for a beer that packs an extra punch, but presents great balance, this beer style is perfect for you. Our 2014 Autumn Seasonal has a limited stock, but is a fantastic representation of an ESB. This traditional "red ale" ESB focuses on drinkability, and has caramel overtones and an earthy, dry, slightly bitter finish. If you want to try your hand at brewing this refill, hurry while supplies last. This beer style doesn't have a very strong commercial presence, but there are a few that we can't resist when we find them, like Ska Brewing's Special ESB, AleSmith Brewing Company's Anvil Ale ESB, andRedhook Ale Brewery's ESB.
How could we have a fall beer list and not include the notorious "love-it-or-hate-it" beer style of fall? Each brewery has a different take on this beer style, with some using actual pumpkin during brewing and some focusing more on the pumpkin spice everyone is so fond of. Brewing your own pumpkin ale can be quite difficult if you don't have the right recipe. Our Pumpkin Rising recipe has a fantastic pumpkin pie flavor and aroma, and isn't difficult to brew. The finished beer will have a thick creamy head and lingering spice finish that will satisfy any pumpkin-ale-loving brewer. If you love pumpkin beers, you probably already have your favorites. But if you are looking to branch out, we recommend trying Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Cigar City Brewing or Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale from Stevens Point Brewing. Even pumpkin ale skeptics will be impressed by these tasty fall beers. What other beer styles do you drink during the fall? Let us know in the comment section below if we missed anything!