As the temperature outside starts to dip (in the 50s last night), it makes me start to think about the great beers that are a coming. I have posted before saying that I love a huge hop hit after a summer of light drinking brews.
One beer that I don’t feel the need to drink is the plethora of “pumpkin” beers that flood the market, and yes, I too will rant on why the hell are pumpkin beers showing up in August. I have pumpkin fields less than a mile from my house, there has not been enough time for a brewery to use the pumpkin in the beer. Finally, I have seen some labels that describe it with pumpkin spices, instead of claiming to use pumpkins. One that I will recommend is Oliver Ales pumpkin beer (Freddy's Revenge), as he has documented the roasting of the pumpkins online, and the flavor is pretty good (even though I am not a huge pumpkin person myself).
But I do love Oktoberfest style beers, whether they are ales or lagers, they always seem to be easy drinking, balanced beers that work well for anyone. You can add a second dose of hops to give it something different if you are making a homebrew.
As for commercial breweries, everyone should have had Sam Adams Oktoberfest by now, if not, they released it this year in July, so go out and grab one. Spaten, Ayinger and Paulander seem to be the default German beers that people drink, and I fully support those decisions. I like to grab a Flying Dog Dogtoberfest, one of the reasons being the awesome name and artwork. Victory does what Victory does and hops up their Festbier. Great Lakes also makes one of the easiest drinking Oktoberfests, so that is always a recommendations.
Whether you like the dark warming beers that are on the horizon, the spiced up pumpkin beers that are taking over the shelf or the balanced Oktoberfest beers, enjoy what you like with friends and always be responsible.