best fall beers
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Fall Beers and Ciders: Craft Brews to Toast the Season

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best fall beers
Cheapism

In-Cider Information

Crisp air, the crunch of leaves under feet, leaf peeping, a glowing fire pit — ready or not, autumn is here, and there's nothing like a belly-warming brew or hard cider on a fall evening to make it feel especially satisfying. Whether you're a hard cider fan or a potent stout lover, we've got you covered with this roundup of highly rated favorite seasonal beers and ciders, with alcohol by volume included.

Related: Raise a Glass to These Gifts for Beer Lovers

Kris Scott also contributed to this story.

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen
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Jack's Abby Copper Legend Octoberfest

ABV: 5.7%
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If you're seeking a classic, exceedingly drinkable, and reliable Oktoberfest beer, look no further than this sweet and malt-forward Märzen. Brewed with German noble hops for more punch and flavor, this hazy amber-orange beer hits the mark. Hop Culture deems it "an instant classic with sweet and crisp maltiness, a gentle carbonation, and smooth body." Prost!

Want to have experts do all the curating for you? You could consider joining a craft beer subscription service, like Beer of the Month Club or Beer Drop, among others.

Bell's Expedition Stout
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Bell's Brewery Expedition Stout

ABV: 11.5%
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Yeah, if that ABV made your eyes pop a little, you're not the only one. We wouldn't recommend drinking more than one of these, but this Kalamazoo, Michigan's anniversary stout, released every fall, has its followers: Beer Advocate rates it as "world-class." Expect hints of chocolate and dark fruits. 

Related: The Best Non-Alcoholic Beers

Deschutes Jubelale
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Deschutes Jubelale

ABV: 6.7%
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Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes makes this ale with hints of toffee and dusted cocoa available starting in October, and you'll probably want to drink it straight through the holidays. Beer Advocate notes it's a "robust ale with a warming spice."

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Celebration Fresh Hop IPA
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Sierra Nevada Brewing Celebration Fresh Hop IPA

ABV: 6.8%
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Sierra Nevada Brewing's fresh hop IPA helps ease us into the season with a deliciously robust ale using only the first fresh hops of the growing season. First brewed in 1981, this beer paved the way for American-style IPAs and stood out as a new take on the oft-spiced and sweet holiday beers. Its layered pine and citrus hop aromas balanced with a rich, malty sweetness make it an ideal and refreshingly unspiced sipper for cold winter nights.

Related: 19 of the Oldest Breweries in America

Citizen Cider Unified Press
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Citizen Cider Unified Press

ABV: 5.2%
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Vermont-based Citizen Cider's Unified Press hard cider is a tribute to traditional American cider and the craftsmen behind the product. Prepared with apples from Vermont and New York pressed at Citizen’s own press house in Burlington, the flagship cider will keep you coming back for its off-dry, crisp appeal to pair with pork, smoked fish, spicy dishes, and soft cheese. The cidery also offers other unique ciders and hard seltzers, from ginger-infused to dry-hopped.

Related: How to Pair 12 Beers With Food

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
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Dogfish Punkin Ale

ABV: 7%
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We get it ... pumpkin beers — not for everyone. But if you're going to give one a try, Delaware-based Dogfish is known for making some stellar brews. Also, the folks at Guys Drinking Beer give this one a pretty solid review, noting: "Unlike most other pumpkin beers, I feel like I could drink about 4-5 of 'em at a stretch, whereas the majority in this style are a one-and-done type of drink."

Related: 17 Cheap Beers That Locals Love

Odell Brewing Co. Isolation Ale
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Odell Brewing Co. Isolation Ale

ABV: 6.1%
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The folks in Colorado know a thing or two about how to warm up after a day in the powder, and this "winter warmer" ale, brewed in Fort Collins, is designed for just that (although we won't tell anyone if you just drink one on your couch in front of a roaring fire). This brew has hints of caramel with a delicate hoppy finish.

2 Towns Ciderhouse The Bad Apple
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2 Towns Ciderhouse The Bad Apple

ABV: 10.5%
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Oregon's largest craft cider maker boasts a collection of bold ciders by partnering with local orchards and farms for high-quality ingredients. Without adding processed sugars or concentrates, the family-owned company uses slow, cold fermentation methods so the fruit speaks for itself. The Bad Apple, an imperial-style hard cider fermented with local honey and aged on native White Oak, exudes complex notes of apples and wood, making it a Northwest crowd favorite. It's a good thing 2 Towns can ship to almost every state.

Related: 25 Creative Ways to Enjoy Apples This Season

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd
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Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd

ABV: 8.8%
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Cigar City Brewing's seasonal imperial pumpkin ale bursts with real pumpkin flavor, as it's brewed with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla to emulate the flavors of a decadent pumpkin pie. This harmonious liquid pumpkin pie blend gives it a "world-class" score of 95 on Beer Advocate, and you're sure to enjoy the buttered pie crust, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and caramel aromas and tasting notes.

Related: 20 Creative Pie Recipes to Spice Up the Holidays

Elysian Brewing Co. Punkuccino
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Elysian Brewing Co. Punkuccino

ABV: 6%
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A pint of Elysian Brewing's coffee pumpkin ale is sure to add a little pep in your step — it packs a short shot of Stumptown coffee toddy alongside pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The medium-body pumpkin ale has an outstanding 92 score on Beer Advocate. One reviewer on the site notes, "Pours a dark brown with thick foam. Nice sweet aroma. This one is excellent. Great flavor. Pumpkin spice, brown sugar, and coffee. Well balanced and not too sweet. Delightful."

Related: Perk ‘Em Up With These Great Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider
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Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider

ABV: 5%
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From arguably one of the most renowned hard cider brands on the market, this juicy hard cider is just like biting into a fresh apple. The popular cidery balances its flagship cider's sweetness and acidity using apples from a 60-acre Hudson Valley orchard, crafting a complex, yet refreshingly reliable hard cider for the masses that’s available year-round.

Related: 20 Things You Didn't Know About Apples

Boulevard Brewing Co. Bob's '47 Oktoberfest
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Boulevard Brewing Co. Bob's '47 Oktoberfest

ABV: 5.8%
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You can't get through a fall beer review without an Oktoberfest or two, and this one brewed in Kansas City, Missouri, is imminently drinkable, scoring high marks from the folks at Hop Culture. Among U.S.-produced Oktoberfests, they note, "Boulevard did the best at recreating the mouthfeel of a German Märzen. This was the lightest and most sessionable of the Americans."

Allagash Brewing Haunted House
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Allagash Brewing Haunted House

ABV: 6.66%
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Allagash Brewing's hoppy dark ale pitch-black pour is reminiscent of the inside of a spooky haunted house, but the seasonal brew's subtly complex flavor profile is surprisingly a bit more uplifting and features “a ghost of coffee-flavored bitterness and hauntingly complex malty palate.” One Beer Advocate reviewer calls it "a pleasant, easy drinking, well done porter."

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Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen
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Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen

ABV: 5.8%
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You can't wrap up a fall beer list without including a true Märzen, the traditionally brewed, German-originating beer that's aged, or layered, through the summer. This one is "the standard by which the Märzen should be judged," say the folks at Hop Culture, noting that it's "sweet without being overly cloying" and is "full-bodied, but easy to drink." Prost!

Related: 15 Cheap Imported Beers Better Than Budweiser

Founders Brewing Co. Porter
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Founders Brewing Co. Porter

ABV: 6.5%
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If you like the idea of a more substantial brew but just can't wrap your taste buds around a stout, try this longtime favorite of a porter. It's one of the best-scoring of its kind at Beer Advocate, so you know it's gonna be tasty. Notes one reviewer on the site: "Hops without bitterness. Malt without cloying sweetness. A nice mouthfeel that coats the tongue without any off-flavors. About as nice a Porter as you will find."

Related: Top 25 U.S. Cities for Craft Beer

Rogue Brewing Dead 'N' Dead
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Rogue Brewing Dead 'N' Dead

ABV: 7.9%
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Brewed in the Pacific Northwest, this whiskey barrel-aged ale fills a glass with an amber-colored sweet maltiness and has notes of oak, vanilla, and fruit. Reviewers say that it tastes quite light for a brew with an ABV nearing 8%.

Related: 20 Best Whiskeys Under $50

Modern Times Space Ways Hazy IPA
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Modern Times Space Ways Hazy IPA

ABV: 6.7%
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Now here's a fall beer that, like many of us, isn't quite ready to entirely let go of summer. This San Diego-brewed hazy IPA is available September through November, yet its profile yields flavors of mango, nectarine, and lime zest. If you just can't get on board with heavier fall brews, this might be the perfect pour for you. Beer site Oct.co notes that it's "like the love child of a white wine and a hazy IPA that took more after the IPA than the wine — a unique combination I didn’t even know I wanted to drink."

Related: 19 Tasty Spiked Seltzers

chai stout
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Left Hand Brewing Chai Milk Stout

ABV: 5%
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Tired of stouts that rely too heavily on chocolate, coffee, or vanilla flavors? Give this stout, brewed in Longmont, Colorado, a go. It's perfect for the cooler temps of fall, incorporating the spicy and warming flavors of chai tea, while the milk's lactose sugars and nitro carbonization process provide a pleasant creaminess.

Related: 20 Cold Weather Cocktails

Southern Tier Brewing Pumking Imperial Ale
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Southern Tier Brewing Pumking Imperial Ale

ABV: 8.6%
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The king of pumpkin beers from Southern Tier Brewing will bewitch your taste buds. In this malty, bready imperial ale with pumpkin puree and pie spices, cinnamon dominates with nutmeg and vanilla in the background. With an outstanding 92 score on Beer Advocate, one reviewer says, "I look forward to this every fall season. For me this is the prototype of what a pumpkin beer should be. Amber color, crisp, and clear. Aromatic with a great blend of cloves and ginger. Balanced taste with the spices not too overwhelming, subtle graham cracker on the exhale, and easy to drink mouthfeel."

Related: 25 Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Products You'll Want to Try — and 13 to Skip

Bell's Brewery Best Brown Ale
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Bell's Brewery Best Brown Ale

ABV: 5.8%
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This smooth and toasty brown ale from Bell's Brewery in Michigan has a caramel and chocolate profile and features a malt backbone with the depth to stand up to cool weather, making it a go-to beer for fall and winter months. The well-balanced American brown ale pairs well with savory lamb and pork chops, sausage, and toasted almonds, and even sweeter dishes with pear and maple syrup. Also, the brew isn't too heavy — it's somewhere between a lighter-bodied beer and malty stout — so you can crush a bunch of them.

Related: Beyond the Pancake: 15 Recipes to Try for Maple Syrup Season

Great Lakes Brewing Oktoberfest
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Great Lakes Brewing Oktoberfest

ABV: 6.5%
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Great Lakes Brewing's take on the festive German Oktoberfest is "a celebration of maltiness" best paired with roast pork loin, potato pancakes, and wiener dog races. This easy-drinking Munich malt beer is a four-time World Beer Championships gold and silver medal winner. According to Gear Moose, "It’s fitting that breweries with a rich heritage do such a great job at producing time-tested styles like the Oktoberfest, and naturally, Great Lakes Brewing does bang-up work producing what could be your new favorite beer." That's something U.S. beer drinkers can celebrate.

Doc's Draft Hard Pumpkin Cider
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Doc's Draft Hard Pumpkin Cider

ABV: 6%
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Alongside its year-round, semi-dry apple cider, Doc's crafts seasonal hard ciders you won't find from most other makers. The draft hard pumpkin cider is made with apples, roasted pumpkins, cinnamon, allspice, fresh ginger, and nutmeg. The apples offer a refreshing brightness to the warm spices and nutty, sweet pumpkin. It's worth keeping your eyes peeled for their other seasonal favorite: the cranberry spice cider, which pairs two of New York's finest fruits — apples and cranberries.

Related: Where to Buy Beer, Cider, Wine, and Liquor Online

Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter
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Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter

ABV: 10%
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Ballast Point's highly rated imperial porter is available year-round, "crafted to weather any storm," and, one might argue, those long, cold winter nights. This bold, smooth, and subtly sweet brew from the brewery's flagship series was infused with vanilla and coffee beans from San Diego's Caffe Calabria. It's a winning combination of roasted coffee notes, the malt's sweet caramel undertones, and aromatic vanilla.

Related: Top 25 U.S. Cities for Craft Beer

Rogue Ales Chocolate Stout
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Rogue Ales Chocolate Stout

ABV: 5.8%
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With the swimsuit season behind us, autumn ushers in the chance to indulge. So why not live a little with Rogue Ales' decadent chocolate pastry stout? As the brewery says, it's "like there's chocolate bars in your beer." The year-round, award-winning beer with a creamy head offers an earthy flavor of oats and hops, giving way to a rich chocolate truffle finish. One Beer Advocate reviewer notes, "This is the adult version of a chocolate milk. So smooth, so drinkable." We can't think of a better treat to toast the season.

Related: 18 Cheap Recipes That Celebrate Chocolate

Oskar Blues Brewery Ten FIDY
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Oskar Blues Brewery Ten FIDY

ABV: 10.5%
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This imperial stout from Oskar Blues has gained a loyal following. It's loaded with unrivaled flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee beneath a smooth blanket of rich, dark malts, including caramel malt, flavorful Munich malts, and fluffy oats. The result is a solid, dare we say cosmic, viscous stout befitting a fall evening. Beer Advocate gives this brew a whopping 97 score, and it's also highly rated by Untappd reviewers, which should give you peace of mind to go forth and add this to a fall beer lineup.