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Top 10 Autumn Beer Recommendations - Top Ten Beers for Autumn

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This is my favorite time of year. I love watching the trees turn and that crisp bite that creeps into the air. I also love the rich, malty beers that start showing up on the shelves in the liquor stores. Five styles and ten beers make up this fall's seasonal recommendations.

1. Spaten Oktoberfest

The first style category is Oktoberfest. And what better brewery to represent this style than the one that invented it. Spaten's Oktoberfest seasonal brew is a fine example of this malty lager. Brewed with just the right amount of balancing hops, this is one of my favorites.

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2. Paulaner Oktoberfest

Paulaner's Oktoberfest is quit sweeter than Spaten so it doesn't quite have that good hops snap at the end. But it is still a fine brew and, unlike Spaten, it's available all year round.

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3. O'Fallon Pumpkin Beer

There are a lot of pumpkin beers available this time of year. This unusual specialty style is not for the beer purist. Malt and hops take a back seat to the pumpkin and the pie spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and mace that leap out of most of these brews. O'fallons might be a little less known than Buffalo Bill's but it is still a fine beer with lots of malt flavor still apparent despite the spices.

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4. Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale is eagerly anticipated each year by many fans of this unusual sub-sub-style of beer. I don't know if I'd consider them the gold standard of pumpkin ale brewers - largely because the beer snob in me is loathe to assign any gold to any beer with squash in it - but they are certainly one of the best loved.

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5. Schlafly Saison Ale

A recent trend among American craft brewers has been to steer away from the more typical Oktoberfest brew or the obvious pumpkin brew, and to direct their harvest time brewing efforts towards saisons. This style, which was fairly obscure in the US market until a few years ago, has been gaining popularity. Schlafly's is a bit heavy on the malt and the hops but is still an interesting beer.

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6. New Belgium Saison Harvest Ale

This slightly sour ale style has been recreated by New Belgium brewery as well. NB's saison is bright and crisp with the sour bite but full of flavor and quite enjoyable. This style might not be for everyone but it is certainly worth a try.

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7. Boulevard Bully! Porter

The last two style categories for this seasonal top ten beers list are porter and stout. All four beers in these two categories are sold year round. The first porter I choose is from Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, MO. Rich and dark, this is one of my personal favorite porters.

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8. Anchor Porter

Anchor is one of the oldest craft breweries in the US and their porter is one of the beers they've been brewing the longest. But that doesn't mean that the recipe or the beer has gotten boring or bland. Instead it pops with flavors of chocolate and coffee and delivers a wonderful richness and complexity.

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9. Bells Kalamazoo Stout

Among Bell's line of excellent beers is their Kalamazoo stout. It's not hard to heap praise on this beer. Within the dark depths of this stout you'll find hints of coffee, chocolate, toffee, berries, and just enough balancing bitterness to round out the package. This stout is very approachable and remains another of my favorites.

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10. Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada Stout finishes out this list and would be an excellent beer to finish on in any circumstance. It has a big, complex flavor like a good stout should. It's drier and a bit more bitter than Kalamazoo and full of the dark flavors such as coffee and chocolate that one would expect.

Beer Tasting Panel Notes
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