No one understands fall drinking better than the Germans, hosts of the famous Oktoberfest festival and consumers of massive amounts of gimmick-free lager. Their beers are the right strength for the seasonal chill: Though they don't generally subscribe to the concept of seasonal beers, Germans spend the whole year drinking perfect-for-fall pilsners with 2% more alcohol and a lot more kick.
You don't have to go to Germany to get a great fall brew, however. Many American craft breweries once rang in the colder weather with heavily spiced pumpkin beers, but now there's a growing trend toward make simple, hearty German styles stateside. To help us find the best German and German-style beers in America, we turned to Rob and Kurt Widmer, founders of Widmer Brothers Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. After living in Germany for two years and learning to appreciate the country's strict traditions, Kurt returned home and started brewing. "We've always felt that seasonal beers are charming," Rob Widmer says. "But I want a beer I can count on."
Here's are the brews he's talking about.
Southern Tier Pumking
Randy Mosher, the beer writer and author of 'Radical Brewing,' says many pumpkin beers underwhelm, but he doesn't hesitate to recommend Southern Tier's Pumking. This beer, which is brewed in Lakewood, New York, is considered an "imperial" pumpkin ale because of its 8.6% ABV. The rich, creamy amber beer smells like pumpkin and delivers just the right amount of cinnamon and nutmeg without making you feel as though you're drinking pie.