Bartenders Recommend Highly Crushable Beers To Bridge Summer And Fall

We’re in the midst of a really weird time in a really year. The end of summer and beginning of fall is confusing for so many reasons (and in this particular year, it’s insane). We’re inundated with pumpkin spice-flavored products, there’s already Halloween candy on grocery stores shelves, kids are back in school (or Zooming from home), and yet, somehow, it’s still 80 degrees and sunny outside. The timing isn’t right for darker, malty wintry beers and we just spent the whole summer imbibing IPAs, pale ales, and wheat beers.

So what to drink during this in-between time? We vote for lagers, marzens, and Vienna lagers (with even a few sour beers on tap). We’re still looking for something lighter and more crushable but we’re burnt out on classic summer brews. To pick the perfect lineup of “shoulder season” beers, we decided to turn to the professionals for help. We asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the most crushable beers for the unofficial time between summer and fall.

Check their picks below!

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Lexington Brewing is a new favorite for the later seasons. The beer has a great body, smooth mouthfeel and robust flavor profile. Despite being higher ABV, it is still very drinkable — almost too drinkable.

Great Divide Hoss

Gloria Otley, bartender at The Brewer’s Art in Baltimore

Hoss by Great Divide. This expression is maltier than you would expect from the light amber color but, as Great Divide usually does, the hop character breaks through for a crisp, dry finish that has aromas of fresh cedar and rye spice.

Devils Backbone Vienna Lager

Andrew DeShane, bartender at Del Pez Mexican Gastropub in Wilmington, Delaware

Devils Backbone Vienna Lager. It’s a year-round favorite of mine. The Vienna lager style is super similar to the marzen style (which is an Oktoberfest regular).

Jack’s Abby Copper Legend

Arturo Deakins, bartender at Kuleana Rum Shack in Hawaii

Jacks Abby Copper Legend is a really fun one and the cans are a proper pint as well so that’s nice. It’s subtly sweet, highly drinkable, and perfect for fall.

Elysian Great Pumpkin Ale

Molly Safuto, bartender at Mila Rooftop Bar in Glendale, California

Elysian Great Pumpkin Ale, great flavor and perfect for fall. Elysian Brewing company never fails in flavor and taste. It is 8 percent ABV though so you can’t crush too many bottles.

8th Wonder Rocket Fuel

Emmanuelle Massicot, assistant general manager of Kata Robata in Houston

8th Wonder Brewery Rocket Fuel Vietnamese Coffee Porter. This beer is made year-round, but during the hot Texas months, a porter is not usually what I would drink. But once the temperature cools down, Rocket Fuel is perfect. The beer is infused with cold brew and milk and the resulting Vietnamese Coffee flavors are spot-on with the perfect amount of bitterness and sweetness. At 5% ABV, it’s crushable and delicious.

Barrier Brewing Icculus Kolsch

Crystal Chasse, beverage director at Talk Story Rooftop in Brooklyn, New York

Barrier Brewing has a fantastic Kolsch that features hints of guava and hibiscus. I find that it is perfect for an early fall evening, when you’re still holding onto summer, but also looking for a crispness that embodies the cooler season ahead. The guava and hibiscus are soft and really support the refreshing Kolsch base.

Mother’s Brewing Oktoberfest

Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

Crushable? Easily it’s the Oktoberfest from Mother’s Brewing. Just a touch lighter than a traditional marzen, but still malty and crisp.

Peekskill Simple Sour

Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director at Borrachito in New York City

Peekskill Brewery’s Simple Sour, no contest. Drinking one of those is like jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves. I think they must have just carbonated and fermented pink lady apples. It’s dry, slightly tart, and screams fall in New England.

Dogfish Head SeaQuench

Gavin Humes, bartender at Scratch Bar & Restaurant in Encino, California

I’m not sure that this is what the rest of the country might consider a fall beer, but in California, it’s hot as all heck all the way through November. I’ve been enjoying the Dogfish Head SeaQuench for its fresh citrus notes. I’m not a big hoppy guy, especially if I’m drinking a few of them, but the freshness and briny notes in the beer are just crave-able.

Idle Hands Brocktoberfest

Frederic Yarm, bartender in Somerville, Massachusetts

Idle Hands Brocktoberfest with its malty notes of fresh baked crusty bread and a touch of caramel sweetness is one of my favorites. Similarly, Revolution Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest with bready amber malts and hints of fruit akin to pear, and an herbal leafy bitter finish is true to style.

Surly Surlyfest

Ben Jimmick, bar manager and beverage director at Pimento Jamaican Kitchen and Rum Bar in Minneapolis

Surlyfest from Surly, it’s a great Rye lager in the marzen style. Surly continuously produces solid beers, which is handy with it being on my doorstep as an immigrant living in Minnesota.