Any season is the right season for the right beer. Autumn conjures up something special for many of us, though. It may be football season and tailgating with friends, holidays and family gatherings, or cooler weather allowing you to get out on the deck or porch on a nice evening and relax without swatting bugs and sweating. Here is a countdown of ten fall beers to help you enjoy your leisure time.

10. New Belgium Hoptober Golden Ale | After grabbing a pack at Lakeside Wine & Spirits, hop next door to Ice & Olives and ask Barry to recommend a camembert or Gruyere, grab a spicy salami, a tin of sardines and thin-sliced sourdough bread. You have the makings right there for some cool porch or patio drinking with a loved one.

9. Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale | This complements traditional family dinner options very well. Try it with a roasted pork or other hearty foods. The light chocolate notes will also pair well with spicy foods such as chicken satay, or Mexican molé dishes.

8. O’Fallon Pumpkin Ale | With a slight pumpkin pie-spice nose, this ale goes well with an actual slice of pumpkin pie, or perhaps replaces it altogether! Excellent hostess gift if my wife invites you to Thanksgiving dinner.

7. Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat | Shock Top is known for the slight carbonation of their beers. This one is no different. It has more of a caramel body than the O’Fallon and will pair nicely with poultry dishes (turkey, anyone?) as well as chocolate or oatmeal-based desserts.

6. Beck’s Oktoberfest | This light, crisp crowd-pleaser is one to take to the tailgating and football parties, or to wind down the evening at home. At home might be better, so you can enjoy more than one!

5. Spaten Oktoberfest | Get out your lederhosen! Straight from Munich, it’s known as the world’s first Oktoberfest beer. Replace the water with Oktoberfest when cooking your favorite German sausage recipes for all the seasonal celebrations. Just be sure to save some for drinking!

4. Warsteiner Oktoberfest | This is another easy-drinking beer. Pair it with heavier foods like bratwurst, German potato salad and red cabbage while grilling out with your friends. It will hold up well.

3. Empyrean Aries Marzen Oktoberfest | Like the Brown Ale, this traditional Bavarian Marzen will accompany heavier meals and spicy foods well. Perfect for Thanksgiving dinners, its mild sweetness and hoppy finish also goes well with Grandma’s spiced desserts like pumpkin, sweet potato, apple or pecan pies.

2. Widmer Bros. Okto Festival Beer | This full-bodied beer has a mild fruity character and a crisp and clean finish. End the day on the deck with this one, along with a plate of sliced apples, some grapes and a Bavarian King’s Cheese or a Beer Cheese. Again, ask Barry at Ice & Olives for suggestions.

1. Samuel Adams Octoberfest | This ubiquitous brew has a full-bodied toffee and caramel flavor that holds up well to almost anything you pair it with, particularly heavier foods, such as roasted or barbecued meats and poultry, spicy sausages, crab cakes, stews and even a flavorful French Onion soup. For dessert, pair it with creme brulee or a big slice of cheesecake.

[ Story by Kevin Reed | September 2012 ]

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