Bartenders Tell Us Their Favorite Fall Beers


Fall has arrived with all the clichés. New TV shows! Falling leaves! Pumpkin spice! Cold weather! Best of all, fall brings with it a lot of delicious, seasonal beers. But with all the different varieties available, how do you pick the right beer for you?

As always, bartenders are here to save the day. We asked some of the best in the business to tell us their favorite fall beers.

Jonathan Shock, bartender at Prime + Proper in Detroit

“Fall usually calls for some darker, richer beers. I’m personally not a big dark beer drinker but even I am susceptible to the changing flavors of the season. I love the Death by Coconut stout from Oskar Blues. It is a delicious stout with rich but delicate coconut flavor. It allows me to embrace the fall spirit while letting me keep my internal summer flame lit.”

Cameron Dodge-White, lead bartender & GM at Little Dom’s in LA

“My go-to fall beer is Leinenkugel Oktoberfest, a Midwestern Marzen at its finest. I’m from the Midwest and grew up with Leinenkugel. It’s tough to find out here in LA, except for the shandy expressions, but when you do? Gold.”

Zach Rivera, beverage director at Headquarters Beercade in Chicago

“This is tough… With the amount of quality breweries in just the Chicagoland area alone, I have a new favorite every week. It’s impossible to keep track and that’s coming from somebody who’s job description includes keeping track of this stuff. I’m going to give a shout out to a hyper local brewery in Lemon, IL called Pollyanna. Their Oktoberfest is delicious.”

Liz Senyak, bartender at Datz in Tampa

“Living in Tampa, I have been completely spoiled with craft breweries all over the city. Every fall I look forward to Cigar City Good Gourd. This imperial pumpkin ale is on my radar come September every year. This limited release beer sells out fast because it’s literally pumpkin in a glass.”

Matt Brown, bartender at Tànsuǒ, Nashville, TN

“For the longest time Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Imperial Ale has been my fall go to. Whenever I’ve put it on draft, pints just fly off the shelf, because people love pumpkin beer and this one isn’t too sweet or too spiced, plus the fact its 8.6% ABV probably helps”

Jeff Arnold, beverage director at High Street on Hudson in New York City

“My personal go-to is the Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace Saison. I generally tend towards lighter beer styles, but with the crispness hitting the air the richer farmhouse style is a gentle warmer. Aside from just being absolutely delicious, the Sorachi Ace specifically plays up both citrus and herbal characteristics, which I really enjoy during the Fall.”

Sarah Mengoni, lead bartender at Double Take in LA

“A fall favorite of mine for years has been Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. It’s nutty, complex, and has a wonderful silky mouthfeel that is absolutely perfect for chilly weather.”

Jon Howard, head bartender at Henley in Nashville

“Here in Nashville we have this amazing local brewery called Black Abby Brewing that has a really amazing brown ale called Guy Fawkes. It is a blend of English malts and American hops that just makes me want to sit on a bale of hay and take in the colors of the trees and slight chill of a fall day in Tennessee.”

Matthew Horsley, Director of Food & Beverage at backYARD at Waller Creek in Austin

“One of my favorite local breweries, 4th Tap, just came out with a seasonal release called Buried Head which is a pumpkin ale. I usually don’t like these because they are often a little too pumpkin-heavy, but 4th Tap puts an incredible amount of time into research and development (i.e. they drink a lot), and they have got this one spot on”

Trevor Landry, Beverage Director at NL Group in Dallas

“Goose Island Sofie – Belgian Farmhouse Ale with a vanilla finish. It’s not cold enough in Dallas to go any darker than that quite yet.”

Greg Scheaffer, beverage director at FISHBOWL in New York City

““During the Fall season, it’s a time to celebrate farmers and mother nature for the bounty of the harvest which allows the beer lovers of the world to join as well and celebrate the time of year with fresh hops! with fresh hops. Beer varietals made with fresh hops are released only in the Fall season and are intended to be enjoyed right away. I am personally a fan of local brewery Six Point and their ‘Autumnation’. This beer is perfectly balanced by blends of freshly harvested hops and pumpkins with mild spicy notes of ginger and cinnamon. One of the best for Fall.”

Mikey Yoder, bartender at Komodo in Miami

“My go to fall beer is definitely Samuel Adams Octoberfest strictly based on its nostalgic factor and its great taste. I spent my early 20’s in New England and had a good friend who would use his house every Sunday to host football games, it was our Sunday church at the time. He would only supply Sam Adams Octoberfest as far as beer was concerned, and still to this day, come football season, you will find me planted on some couch or bar stool with an October Sammy in hand on Sundays.”