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.
You've probably been told to drink traditional pilsners on hot summer days. But the pilsner is more versatile than that. This is a fresh and beguiling style that goes well with July afternoons and October tailgates alike. The U.S.-brewed Trumer Pils is made from hops, malt, and yeast shipped from Austria, where the beer was made for 400 years by the family that helped found the Trumer brewery in Berkeley, California. The beer is aged six weeks before being bottled, and the result is a golden beer with a Champagne-like fizz that's smooth and has a faint bite of hops in the finish. Expect a hint of lemon in this crisp and dry beer, which clocks in at just 4.9% ABV but has enough refreshing complexity to make it great for the shoulder season.