Original article published on the Brewers of PA website.
Pumpkin “everything” beers may be a trend (with some worthy standouts), but most examples pale in comparison to styles that have been enjoyed as the days start to shorter for hundreds of years. Check out our four favorite fall beer styles that you need to drink.
Oktoberfests are amber lagers traditionally served in the fall months during celebrations. Historically known as Märzen lagers, these beers were brewed in March (hence the name) and fermented cold in caves until the late summer or fall when they were ready to enjoy. Vienna- and Munich-style malts contribute to the toasty flavor, while choice German hops balance the out the finish. These beers are typically sessionable, around 5 or 6% ABV, making them a perfect choice for afternoon football or a family gathering. A classic Oktoberfest option from Southeast Pennsylvania is Sly Fox Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest.
Many Pennsylvania breweries have been making use of our country’s vast agricultural system—for hops, of course! Brewing beer with wet hops added right to the kettle within days of picking adds tremendous grassy notes to the beer. Some breweries are even able to use hops picked directly from farms only miles away. That added factor not only makes for a superbly local beer, but it also plays a part in building a sustainable local supply chain. Some of the best Harvest ales are coming from Victory Brewing Company, Tröegs Independent Brewingand Free Will Brewing Co.
Saisons and wild farmhouse ales are go-to choices when the brisk air starts to set in. Although these beers are refreshing in the spring and summer, their wild and funky flavors pair perfectly with fall foods like brats, hearty cheeses and even spicy fare. Oak-aged beers with wild yeasts such as brettanomyces can be especially fun to crack with a few friends around a campfire. Look for choice selections from Tired Hands Brewing Company and Brewery Techne.
Stouts can be cherished year round, but fall is a prime time to crack a few bottles that have been aging in the cellar. Lighter stouts with notes of toffee are the best pairing for a round of s’mores, while roasty imperial stouts (usually 8% ABV or higher) will warm you up as we begin to enter winter. Great options are available from Weyerbacher Brewing Company, including its Sunday Morning Stout, and 2SP Brewing Company, including its Baby Bob Stout and The Russian. Yards Brewing Company‘s Love Stout is also a great go-to!
Drinking any of these styles as the air crisps up is sure to brighten your spirits. Fall is a time for gathering together and sharing, and your friends will long remember your generosity (and beer savvy!) when you share these four styles. Drink a few Oktoberfests at your family celebration, indulge in a harvest ale at the game, pair a saison at a late-season barbecue and cherish an oak-aged saison with a few friends … there’s something special when you do so among the shuffle of leaves and cool air.
The Brewers of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit trade association that brings together leaders of Pennsylvania-based breweries in order to promote and protect the brewing industry in the state. Established in 2011, the Brewers of Pennsylvania serves the consuming public of Pennsylvania by encouraging brand diversity in the market. We believe in the nobility of brewing and hold dear the great traditions and history of Pennsylvania brewing.