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Craft Beer Releases To Chase Down This October

October is a great month for craft beer. This is when the plethora of fall launches from the past two months meet with the upcoming winter drops sure dominate through the holiday season and push us into the new year. Plus, Oktoberfest and pumpkin ales have been on the shelf for two months now, yet still remain very present — well, the pumpkin ales do. Oktoberfest season is officially over so grab the last of those today if you still have a hankering.

With winter coming, we’re getting amped-up lagers, spiced ales, the hoppiest of IPAs, the haziest juice bombs, and some stouts as dark as the darkest black hole in the cosmos. What a time to be a beer drinker?!

Hopefully, the eight beers we’re giving love to this month will pique your interest and inspire you to explore exciting taprooms, beer halls, and breweries in your own neck of the woods. These picks represent regional craft beer releases from makers that we vouch for, along with some seasonally released bottles that we’ve been looking forward to trying again. Click on those prices if you want to give them a try!

PACIFIC NORTHWEST DROP: Deschutes Jubelale

Deschutes

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $12 (six-pack)

The Beer:

No list of October beers would be complete without Oregon’s Jubelale. The brew is a masterful mix of five malt and five hop varieties with a lean towards classic English dark ale. The finished product is the gold standard of an American winter warmer.

Tasting Notes:

This is a big beer with big notes of chocolate roasted malts next to subtle Christmas spices and clear toffee sweetness. Those sweet malts shine brightly as the spices offer a great counterpoint with a touch of hoppiness on the backend. The sip leans into the malts with a return of rich cacao powder on the final notes.

Bottom Line:

We don’t even care if the holidays are still well over a month-plus away. The faster we can get to the end of this year, the better. Thankfully, there’ll be plenty of this fine dark ale to help us get there.

SOUTHWEST DROP: Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Narwahl Imperial Stout

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 11.9%

Average Price: $20 (four-pack)

The Beer:

Sierra Nevada’s Narwahl is an expertly made stout that leans into heavily roasted honey and chocolate malts. That beer is then loaded into former bourbon barrels and left to rest for over a year in Sierra Nevada’s barrelhouse. The amped-up yet refined results are then bottled, allowing you to further age the beer in your own cellars. Though, now you can buy the beer in tall-boy cans to enjoy right now, if that’s your jam.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of oily espresso beans, bitter cacao, and darkly roasted grains are at the forefront of this brew. The cacao fades as a buttery, creamy nature brings along a rich dark chocolate tone alongside that coffee bitterness and malty cracker base. The hops kick in but never overpower that bitter-roasted nature of the brew.

Bottom Line:

I cracked open one of these from 2016 and it was magical. That being said, I also tried the can version recently and it was also a killer brew. Either way, now’s the time to crack one or two of these open while the rain patters outside.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN DROP: Upslope Spruce Tip IPA

Upslope

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $10 (six-pack)

The Beer:

It’s that time of year again and Spruce Tip IPA from Colorado’s Upslope is back on shelves. The brew has a subtle malt base that’s amped with Cascade and Simcoe hops. Then the beer is spiked with wild spruce tips from the Rockies to add a real wild and deep vibe to the beer.

Tasting Notes:

Bright, alive pine shines on the nose with a hint of candied orange. The malts create a solid foundation for the spruce/forest feel of the beer. There’s an earthiness to the crisp sip that blends well with the piney nature of the spruce.

Bottom Line:

This is one of my personal favorite wintry IPAs. It’s so light and crisp without being a hop punch to the face. It’s definitely worth tracking down a sixer for the fridge.

SOUTHERN DROP: Cigar City Spanish Cedar Jai Alai

Cigar City

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $12 (four-pack)

The Beer:

This is an interesting brew from down in Florida. The brewmasters at Cigar City have taken their very fruity hop-bomb Jai Alai IPA and rested it with staves of Spanish cedar to recreate a classic humidor vibe in the beer. And … it works.

Tasting Notes:

The orange citrus of the IPA is still very present on the nose and taste but is now supported by a clear sense of cracked black pepper, potpourri, and a touch of caramel malts. Those malts help drive the taste while the dried florals and peppery spice offer a nice counterpoint to the bright yet oily citrus-infused cedar planks, creating a deep wintry vibe.

Bottom Line:

This really feels like you’re drinking a holiday decoration display with a smoker puffing away next to candied oranges and spicy mulled wine.

MIDWEST DROP: Bell’s Cherry Stout

Bells

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $16 (six-pack)

The Beer:

It’s always great to see Bell’s Cherry Stout back on shelves. The beer starts off as a malty and chocolatey stout that’s then loaded with tart and dark Montmorency cherries from Traverse, Michigan.

Tasting Notes:

Imagine a brandy-soaked tart-yet-candied cherry covered in deeply rich and dark chocolate with a pinch of sea salt and vanilla and you’ll be on the right track. The sourness of the cherries cut through the sweetness on the palate with a bright burst of tart next to those dark chocolate malts and espresso bean bitter notes.

Bottom Line:

Dark chocolate and cherry sour should always be together. This is a great example of a unique and very American-crafty beer that just hits right this time of year.

NORTHEAST DROP: Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale

Samuel Adams

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: $12 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Okay, one last pumpkin ale to toast out the season. Samuel Adams’ Jack-O is a very sessionable pumpkin ale that amps up the fruit by adding tons of savory pumpkin with just the right amount of nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s late fall in a bottle, folks.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a pumpkin pie vibe that drives the whole experience. The spices kick up on the palate with a lean towards the nutmeg as the savory aspects of the pumpkin drive the taste away from the sweeter ends of the malts. The overall vibe is very “pumpkin pie” but in the sense of a homemade pie that you added a little salt to to keep the overly sweet aspects at bay.

Bottom Line:

This is a good cooking beer. Drink it while you’re cooking a big holiday meal. Or, use it to make a beer-y cheese dip or glaze for smoked turkey or something like that.

WILD CARD DROP: Stone Enjoy By 10.31.21 Hazy IPA

Stone

ABV: 9.4%

Average Price: $18 (six-pack)

The Beer:

It’s another year and that means it’s time for another Halloween-inspired IPA from Stone’s “Enjoy By” series. This year’s entry is a double hazy IPA that’s crammed with Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin hops. We’re sure there are some malts in there too, but that’s not why we’re drinking a Stone IPA.

Tasting Notes:

This is a tropical fruit bomb, through and through. The nice thing about this beer though, is that it leans away from the overly sweet fruits and has a nice savory and dry throughline that touches more on papaya and winter squash while the sweeter orange citrus is more relegated to an essence. The bitterness is strong, sure. But the beer reads more like a fruit salad that focuses on melon more than pineapple.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty bold and will knock your socks off with its ABVs. It’s also dialed into the current season, which is nice for a must-drink-this-month beer.

INTERNATIONAL PICK OF THE MONTH: De La Senne Taras Boulba

Brasserie de la Senne

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $4 (11-oz. bottle)

The Beer:

This Belgium Blonde ale is great year-round. But, there’s something about right now — as the rain starts falling more regularly — that just screams “It’s time for Belgian beers!” The light-ish pale ale is amped up with hops that ring with winter spices and orange citrus, adding to the “now” of this sip.

Tasting Notes:

That citrus is what comes through on the nose, with a sense of orange oils on dry wood next to grapefruit pith with a hint of old hay bales lurking in the background. The taste carries on in that direction while the wood takes on a very mild dark spice with hints of brewer’s yeast, wheat cookies, and a hint of an apple core. The overall experience feels very fall/winter from start to finish.

Bottom Line:

I just ordered a case of this stuff in case you’re questioning the seasonality of it. It’s the perfect sessionable beer for this time of year.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive commission pursuant to some entries on this list.

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