It’s that time of year when orange-labeled brews start to occupy the shelf space once claimed by summer seasonals and warm weather thirst quenchers. It’s pumpkin season. And pumpkin season sucks. Listen, not every pumpkin beer is bad (see:  Avery Pump[KY]n, Cigar City Good Gourd), but most taste like a mixture of stale supermarket baking spices and burnt sugar. Luckily, cooler weather also means you can reintroduce some roasty stouts and porters into your liquid diet along with wet (fresh) hop beers and other boozy offerings. Here are 8 we highly recommend.

3 Floyds Broo Doo

Every fall, the annual hop harvest graces hopheads with a series of fresh beers to sample. Our favorite of these wet hop beers comes from the fine folks at 3 Floyds. Broo Doo is a citrusy wonder packed with a toffee malt backbone. It’s full-bodied, slightly creamy, and a treat you only get for a limited time. Don’t miss it this season. Link

IPA • ABV: 7% • RATING: 94

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

Most Märzens, or “Oktoberfest beers” as we often call them, are sweet and approachable but far from interesting. Since the style doesn’t lend itself to the type of creativity that, say, a barrel-aged stout does, Sierra Nevada attempted to brew a traditional one that was spot-on. To do so, they enlisted the help of Brauhaus Riegele, and the result is one of the finest Märzen beers we’ve had in some time. Lederhosen or not, it will go down nice this time of year. Link

Märzen • ABV: 6% • RATING: 91

Funky Buddha Sweet Potato Casserole Strong Ale

Alright, while we railed against the spicy and sweet messes most pumpkin beers are, we’re not haters of all fun seasonals. Case in point: Funky Buddha’s Sweet Potato Casserole Strong Ale. Drawing inspiration from another Thanksgiving staple, the beer is heavy on the marshmallow and the vanilla, and, like everything Funky Buddha churns out, it’s surprisingly wonderful. Link

Fruit Beer • ABV: 9.5% • RATING: 87

Founders Breakfast Stout

With Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) and last year’s return of Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS), it can be easy to forget the humble Breakfast Stout (BS?) from Founders. But, as any roasty stout fan knows, it’s one of the absolute finest brews to hit shelves at the end of the year. No crazy hunting or impossibly long lines for a single pour, just a beer you can enjoy as the cooler nights return. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 8.3% • RATING: 99

Dogfish Head Pennsylvania Tuxedo

This collab with Woolrich (yes, the clothing company) is ideal for brisk days this fall. The pale ale, which makes its debut in bottles this season, is brewed with spruce tips for an outdoorsy feel that pairs nicely with some heavy flannel. Look for it at toward the end of the month. Link

Pale Ale • ABV: 4.7% • RATING: N/A

Great Lakes Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale

Sweet doesn’t have to be cloying. Nosferatu Red Ale is a malty treat that’s out right now. That sweet, toffee-like backbone is paired nicely with the piney hop notes you’ll pick up when you take a whiff. Like the classic film of the same name, this beer is oddly fantastic. Link

Imperial Red Ale • ABV: 8% • RATING: 91

Deschutes Jubelale

Sure, it’s billed as a winter ale, and the label would certainly suggest it’s best paired with the cookies you’ll steal from Santa, but Jubelale is just the kind of beer we like to crack on the first cold night of the year. As soon as the evening temps drop, we light the fire pit, call a few friends and pour some glasses. The chicory notes and spices pair nicely with the warming alcohol. The perfect beer for crisp night shenanigans. Link

Winter Warmer • ABV: 6.7% • RATING: 89

Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin

Firestone Walker can do no wrong. Here they provide you with a seasonal that’s absolutely perfect for the slow transition from sun to snow. At 5.5%, it won’t warm you up like a big, bold stout, but the dark chocolate and roasted coffee present in the creamy oatmeal stout are fantastic this time of year. Link

Oatmeal Stout • ABV: 5.5% • RATING: 89

Header Credit to Ray Villafane Pumpkins


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