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The Best Craft Beer Releases To Chase Down This September

September might be the best month for craft beer releases. Seriously. We’re finally free of the repetitive and sparse IPA drops of summer and getting into two seasons worth of very diverse beer offerings. Plus there’s are still plenty of IPAs on the way, so don’t worry there.

This month finds us at the intersection of hefty German lagers (or märzen beers) being released for Oktoberfest (which would have started this month, had it not been canceled for the second year in a row) and all the pumpkin ales you can drink. Right after this, we’ll be into the holiday season with its winter warmers, bocks, and stouts. In short, there’s a lot of interesting and delicious beers on the horizon starting … now!

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.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST DROP: Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Elysian Brewing

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $10 (six-pack)

The Beer:

This pumpkin ale adheres to the hard and fast rules of the style: Add a lot of fresh pumpkin and spices to create a fall beer. Pale, Munich, CaraHell, C-20, C-45, and Special B malts and Magnum hops form the foundations of the beer before 150 pounds of fresh and roasted pumpkin, green and roasted pumpkin seeds, and ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice are added to each batch.

Tasting Notes:

You get a sense of real pumpkin from the nose through the finish. Imagine slicing up a whole pumpkin and you’ll be on the right track. There’s a matrix of pumpkin pie spices in the base of the taste but it’s not the focus of the beer. There’s a nice bitterness thanks to those pumpkin seeds and the beer maltier notes touch on a buttery pie crust.

Bottom Line:

I just tried this again recently and it’s shocking how well it holds up. I tried it with a friend who lives and dies by Coors Light and even they had to admit that this was a delicious beer. So yeah, give it shot and leave your preconceived notions about pumpkin ales at the door.

SOUTHWEST DROP: Stone Orange Scream Hazy IPA

Stone Brewing

ABV: 8.8%

Average Price: Only Available At Brewery

The Beer:

This beer was made by one of Stone’s oldest employees as a sort of testament to the brewery’s staying power. The brew leans into the orange creaminess by building on a backbone of CTZ Hop Extract, HBC 685 Azacca, Nugget, and Citra hops with orange puree, lactose, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:

This smells like a citrus bomb on the nose with a deep vanilla cream soda vibe. The taste leans into the richest orange creamsicle you’ve ever had. It’s kind of like taking a bite out of the frozen orange juice concentrate brick with a rich bourbon vanilla cream in the middle. A hint of dank hop florals cuts through the citrus and cream and leaves you with a hazy and very crushable beer for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Bottom Line:

I generally don’t like these beers but this one took the idea of an orange creamsicle and really elevated it. This isn’t something I’d reach for often, but I can see downing these easily on a hot late-summer day without hesitation.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN DROP: Odell Oktoberfest

Odell Brewing

ABV: 6.1%

Average Price: $12 (six-pack)

The Beer:

The marriage of Munich malts and German Noble hops with that Colordao craft ingenuity and Rocky Moutain water (pulled from the Cache la Poudre River) makes for good beer. The result is a brew that leans very close to the traditional Munich brews served in the Theresienwiese, with a nod to the hoppier end of American craft.

Tasting Notes:

This is really dialed with a cracker malt base that touches on caramel malts. The hops are never overwhelming and provide more of a spicy floral note kind of like a nasturtium. Combined, you have a crisp, malty, and floral beer that’s extremely refreshing.

Bottom Line:

This beer is very crushable. The extra ABVs make this one a good candidate for a long backyard drinking session where you have nothing else to do besides grill sausages and maybe toss a ball around.

SOUTHERN DROP: Real Ale Brewing Oktoberfest

Real Ale Brewing

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $10 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Real Ale Brewing consistently drops seasonals that you want to return to year after year. One of their best is their Oktoberfest which combines Munich and Vienna malts with German beer yeast and hops. They add a little of that Texas craft brashness and end up with another crushable brew to celebrate all things Bavaria, even if you’re in Texas.

Tasting Notes:

Crisp and malty are the best descriptors for this brew. The maltiness has a lovely caramel base with a hint of burnt straw. The hops are dialed way back, mildly floral and dank, and provide a slight effervescent counterpoint to the bready and sweet malts. The end is thick but dry with a slight floral hint leaning towards green grass.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those beers that’ll be easy to drink all day while chilling under a big tree somewhere in Texas’ Hill Country. Hell, you might even break out into song once you get into the back end of your six-pack.

MIDWEST DROP: New Holland Ichabod

New Holland

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $11 (six-pack)

The Beer:

This pumpkin ale starts with an old-school malted ale base full of buttery and almost honey-tasting malts. Then the fresh pumpkin arrives with a good dose of cinnamon and nutmeg. The end result feels like a pumpkin pie your grandparents used to make when you were a kid, except this time it comes in the form of a spicy-yet-malty ale.

Tasting Notes:

The nutmeg is what drives the nose, taste, and finish. The pumpkin provides a nice, savory counterpoint to the sweet malts while the cinnamon lurks in the background, bringing an echo of heat to the mix. The overall experience is very balanced, leaving the sweeter edges to the side and letting the spice and fruit really shine alongside those grainy malts.

Bottom Line:

This isn’t overly sweet and that’s why it’s on the list. A lot of these pumpkin ales go hard on the sweeteners to hide the rougher edges of the brew. This leaves the alcohol low while amping up real flavors. It’s just… really quite nice.

NORTHEAST DROP: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $11 (four-pack)

The Beer:

This beer starts out as a sweet and malty brown ale. Fresh pumpkin fruit, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg are added to the brew and Punkin Ale is born.

Tasting Notes:

Those brown ale malts lean heavily into wet brown sugar with a hint of burnt straw. The pumpkin feels more savory than sweet with a slightly stringy edge and a touch of pumpkin seed bitterness. The spices aren’t the star of the show but they’re present in the same sense that they are in a pumpkin pie. The end embraces the spice and malty sweetness of the brown ale for a chewy and bold finish.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the oldest seasonals on the list — it dropped first back in 1995. Still, it’s not really autumn without a cold sixer of this beer in a fridge.

WILD CARD DROP: Revolution Brewing Oktoberfest

Revolution Brewing

ABV: 5.7%

Average Price: $10 (six-pack)

The Beer:

This Chicago beer is German ingredients filtered through American craft brewing. Bavarian malts meet Bavarian hops and Bavarian lager yeast to create this brew. The beer is then properly lagered at low temps for four weeks, and then it’s party time (this beer is very crushable).

Tasting Notes:

The malts are the star of the show with a toasted crusty bread presence. The malt edge is a bit sweet with a touch of orange rind and green grass. The hops kick in late with a spicy/floral vibe next to that orange and grass, creating a crisp and bright finish.

Bottom Line:

If you’re in Chicago, now’s the time to start crushing these beers. They’re a great example of American craft Oktoberfest beers while displaying a real love for the real-deal brews from Munich.

INTERNATIONAL PICK OF THE MONTH: Augustiner Oktoberfestbier

Augustiner-Bräu

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $16 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Augustiner is the oldest brewery within Munich’s city limits. It started all the way back in 1328. The brew is made from locally grown ingredients. And trust us, they keep it simple by only using water, yeast, hops, and barley. That’s it. Yet, the brewers in Munich are able to coax so many amazing flavors from such humble ingredients that this will be an instant favorite.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a subtle sense of the malts up top with a touch of green grassiness and lager-y fizz on the head. You can almost feel the earthen walls of the underground cellar this was stored in. The sip is super svelte, with a fruitiness that leans towards apple cores and even the bitterness of the seeds. There isn’t really a sweetness to the malts and the hoppiness is dialed back into more fruit and florals than bitterness — yet it’s still all wonderfully balanced.

Bottom Line:

This is my all-time favorite Oktoberfest beer from one of my top three breweries in the world. So yeah, I’m a bit biased. But this is what real lager is and will help you better understand how great a classic beer can be — even when it’s devilishly simple.

That all being said, you’re going to have to really search the high-end beer shops to find this one. If you do, get as much as you can and make your own mini Oktoberfest.


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

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