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Craft Beer Experts Reveal Their Absolute Favorite Fall Beers

Fall is a great time to try new beers. When the seasons shift there’s always a plethora of great beer styles to return to. In the case of autumn, its Vienna lagers, saisons, brown ales, Oktoberfest-style beers, and pumpkin ales. Plus a range of fresh hop and wet hop beers. Pretty great season for beer-loving, if you ask us.

“For me, fall is the season of fresh and wet hop beers,” notes James Bruner, director of production at The Bruery in Placentia, California. “Meaning beers with hops that are picked the day of, or the day before, being used in the brewhouse. If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance from a hop farm, you can go pick up some of these freshly harvested, whole cone hops yourself, but most breweries will have them shipped overnight after picking to be used the next morning on a waiting brew.”

While we’re always down for a fresh hop IPA, we’re also interested in the other beers fall has to offer. That’s why we asked a handful of well-known beer experts and brewers to tell us their stone-cold #1 picks for the must-try beers of fall 2022.

Fonta Flora Supper Table

Fonta Flora Supper Table
Fonta Flora

Adam Cranford, lead brewer at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colorado

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $16 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Supper Table from Fonta Flora in Morganton, North Carolina. I’m not really one for ‘dessert beers’ or the typical flavors that you get in more seasonal fall beers, but this sweet potato beer with vanilla, ginger, cardamom, clove, allspice, and cinnamon just reminds me of cool fall days at my grandparents’ house.

The classic sweet potato pie flavors and creamy mouthfeel gives the impression of drinking a dessert without being overly heavy.

Saison Dupont

Saison Dupont
Saison Dupont

Eric Warner, head brewer at Karbach Brewing in Houston

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $11.99 for a 750ml bottle

Why This Beer?

I don’t know that it’s necessarily considered a Fall beer, but in Texas where the line blurs between summer heat and cooler Fall temperatures, I always enjoy Saison Dupont. It’s effervescent and light-bodied enough for the warmer days, but the amazingly spicy aroma is perfect when we get a bit of cooler air.

Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen

Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen
Ayinger

Dan Schmelzer, head brewer at the Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $3.99 for a 16.9-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen. Being a longtime fan of lagers, and particularly traditional European lagers, this is a beer I long for every year as the summer wanes and the weather begins to transition to fall. Perhaps it’s the brew being the color of changing leaves, the rich layered specialty malts providing aromas and flavors of home-baked biscuits and toasted bread, or even the herbal spice from the European noble hops that pair so well with the season.

Founders Harvest Ale

Founders Harvest Ale
Founders

Broc Eichhorst, brewer at Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, Indiana

ABV: 7.6%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

I always look forward to Founders Harvest Ale. It is a very smooth, amazingly balanced IPA brewed with fresh-picked “wet” hops. The hop aroma is soft with herbal and melon notes and a mildly sweet, pale malt base that works perfectly.

Not super juicy, not too bitter, just very pleasant.

Alesmith Evil Dead Red

Alesmith Evil Dead Red
Alesmith

Brad Miles, R & D and innovations manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California

ABV: 6.66%

Average Price: $5.50 for a 22-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

Evil Dead Red from Alesmith is one of the beers we don’t make that I look forward to every year. It’s a Red IPA released just in time for Halloween. It’s a nostalgic experience for me because the style of Red IPA was one of the beers that got me into craft beer and interested in brewing. A good Red IPA has a great balance of malt and hop character.

Red IPA is a difficult style to make, as it’s easy to design a recipe that’s too malt forward or has the wrong type of hop character. It’s best when balanced, and it’s easy to tip too far one way or the other. Evil Dead Red has a piney, citrus, almost dank character that is balanced with a malty/bready backbone. At 6.66% it’s easy to drink a few.

Idle Hands Brocktoberfest

Idle Hands Brocktoberfest
Idle Hands

Matthew Steinberg, head brewer and co-founder of Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: $14.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Idle Hands Brocktoberfest is the fall beer I look forward to most every year. Generally, a bit more hoppy than its traditional brethren, this Marzen offers a touch of herbal aroma and bold malt character without being sweet.

This beer always delivers and always ends up in my fridge, but it doesn’t last long.

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale
Monk’s Cafe

Morgan O’Sullivan, co-owner of FlyteCo Tower in Denver

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: $15.99 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Monk’s Cafe Red Ale, brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge specifically for Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia. This is a traditional blend of young and old beers, giving off the aroma of a sour beer, with tart cherry, and raspberry flavor along with a hint of caramel.

The dark red color is particularly stunning.

Sierra Nevada Celebration

Sierra Nevada Celebration
Sierra Nevada

Fal Allen, head brewer at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Booneville, California

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Sierra Nevada Celebration ale is the beer I look forward to each fall. Hoppy and caramel meet luscious with a hint of chocolate. Delicious. It’s a fall and winter beer I seek out every year.

It’s referred to as a “holiday IPA”, but it hits store shelves in October.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Samuel Adams

Chris Spinelli, co-founder and brewer at Roc Brewing Co in Rochester, New York

ABV: 5.3%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Octoberfest from Samuel Adams is one of my favorites. It is a perfect example of the style. It is such an easy-drinking beer with rich caramel that is perfectly warming for those fall days. I really enjoy the Oktoberfest-style beers. Rochester’s Genesee Brewing’s Oktoberfest is another, always great to visit the brew house on a fall day to have that tasty Marzen, while looking at High Falls in Rochester.

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