When it comes to fall drinking, “darker,” “richer,” and more “robust” are the keywords we look for. This is true in whiskey, where we enjoy sipping higher proof Scotches, cask strength bourbons, and spicy ryes. But it’s equally true when it comes to our craft beer-drinking habits.

In most areas of the country, there’s a slight chill in the air as venture deeper into October, marking the time to set aside our summery IPAs, pale ales, pilsners, and wheat beers in place of darker beers. Specifically — for our purposes today — darker, malty lagers.

You’ll find eight of our favorite fall lagers listed below. Some are black lagers, some are Vienna lagers, and others just carry a strong malt backbone. All are well-suited for fall drinking. Click the price if you want to buy some for yourself.

Dovetail Vienna-Style Lager

Dovetail

ABV: 5.1%
Average Price: $10.99 for a four-pack

The Story:

This no-nonsense, straight forward fall seasonal lager is amber-colored and loaded with Vienna malts and Styrian Golding hops. It’s no-frills, slightly sweet, and known for its malty, caramel flavor well-suited for chilly fall nights.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find highlight aromas of caramel and bready malts and slightly floral hops. The palate is filled with toasty, caramel malts, freshly baked bread, wet grass, and a nice herbal, slightly spicy hit of hops to round everything out nicely.

Bottom Line:

This is an exceptional, simple Vienna lager. It’s loaded with caramel and bready flavors that pair perfectly with slightly bitter, floral hops.

Burial Hellstar

Burial Beer

ABV: 4.8%
Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Story:

This 4.8% ABV dark lager from Asheville’s Burial Brewing is the warming, in-your-face lager you’ve been waiting for. It’s almost as dark as a stout but loaded with toasted oak, caramel malt, and bready flavors that will remind you that it’s still autumn.

Tasting Notes:

Complex notes of toasty malts, fresh-baked bread, slightly bitter coffee, and floral hops greet you on the nose. Sipping it brings forth hints of floral hops, oatmeal, caramel malts, fresh brew coffee, sticky toffee, and a nice, dry, sweet finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a very complex, dark lager that bridges the gap between lager and stout well. It’s loaded with roasted malt flavor as well as slightly bitter hops. It just works.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness

Great Lakes

ABV: 6.1%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

Eliot Ness was a well-known prohibition agent who is widely regarded as the man who brought mobster Al Capone to justice. In his honor, Great Lakes brews this year-round amber lager. It’s 6.1% ABV, malty, rich, and an all-around great fall lager.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of caramel malts, toasted wood, dried fruits, and a gentle, nutty sweetness are prevalent. On the palate, you’ll find hints of toffee, roasted malt, tree nuts, and just a hint of spicy, floral hops. The finish is dry and slightly sweet.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason this is one of Great Lakes Brewing’s most highly regarded beers. It’s a great example of the Vienna lager style and one that you’ll want to drink all year long. Not just in the fall.

New Belgium 1554

New Belgium

ABV: 6%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

New Belgium 1554 is truly a unique beer. It’s dark in color, but it doesn’t fall under any of the conventional styles. Instead, it’s a zwert. You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of this style — it’s a mostly forgotten beer style that uses gruit (a mixture of herbs) for bittering. This dark lager is also brewed with Pale, Carapils, Black, Munich, and Chocolate malts as well as lager yeast and Nugget hops.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is filled with scents of biscuit-like malts, caramel corn, rye bread, and slightly spicy, floral hops. Taking a sip brings the drinker into a world of Noble hops, coffee beans, caramel malts, as well as toasty, fruity, slightly hoppy flavors.

Bottom Line:

This surprisingly well-balanced beer might be surprisingly dark in color, but it’s filled with bready, malty, sweet flavors that pair well with the slight hop presence.

Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger

Jack

ABV: 5.6%
Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Story:

During the early fall, many Jack’s Abby fans turn their attention to its Oktoberfest-style beer Copper Legend. But as the days grow colder and shorter, Smoke & Dagger is much more appropriate. This 5.6% black lager is known for its slightly smoky, rich, malty flavors.

Tasting Notes:

Scents of dark chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, caramel malts, and slight smoke greet your nose before the first sip. When you take a sip, you’ll be greeted with notes of roasted malts, more dark chocolate, espresso beans, and a nice, gentle kick of smoke at the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a truly complex, well-balanced beer. If you enjoy a darker beer with hints of chocolate, coffee, caramel, and just a kiss of smoke, this is the fall beer for you.

pFriem Export Lager

pFriem

ABV: 5.7%
Average Price: $5.49 for a 500ml bottle

The Story:

pFriem is a big name in the craft beer world. While you can’t go wrong with any of this Oregon-based brewery’s offerings, we suggest its Export Lager for your fall drinking pleasure. This 5.7% lager is brewed with Pilsner and Weyermann CaraHell malts as well as Perle, Saaz, and Tettnanger hops and lager yeast.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is a complex mix of grassy, herbal, floral hops and caramel, bready, biscuit-like malts. The palate is more of the same with some dry hay, floral hops, sweet toffee, bread-like malts that are all rounded together with a subtle, dry, sweet finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a great beer to slowly work your way into fall. Even if the temperatures haven’t dipped yet, the floral hop presence will refresh you. If it is a chillier day, the malt presence will warm you.

Ballast Point Longfin Lager

Ballast Point

ABV: 4.5%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

Novice beer drinkers probably believe Ballast Point begins and ends with its iconic Sculpin IPA. But the San Diego-based brewery has a lot more up its sleeve. Its Longfin Lager is a great, malty respite from its bitter, floral summery IPA.

Tasting Notes:

This sessionable lager begins with aromas of bready malts, Noble hops, and nice nutty, fruity scents. The palate dances with notes of caramel malts, freshly-based bread, toffee, and floral, slightly spicy hops. It’s light, refreshing, and malty.

Bottom Line:

The lightest beer on this list, Ballast Point Longfin Lager might be the perfect gateway beer between summer and fall. It’s still light and refreshing but has enough malt presence to hold up well on a crisp fall day.

Reuben’s Brews Northsun

Reuben

ABV: 5.3%
Average Price: $12.99 for a four-pack

The Story:

This 5.3% Vienna Lager tastes like fall in a can (especially if you don’t like pumpkin spice). It’s surprisingly light with a ton of malt presence that makes it an ideal beer from the warmer early fall days to the chilly, often bitterly cold days to come.

Tasting Notes:

This amber-hued beer begins with a nose of toasted, caramel, bready malts as well as lightly bitter, herbal hops. Sipping it reveals more toffee, caramel, biscuity malts that ease into dry hay and herbal hops. It all ends in a malty, sweet, caramel finish.

Bottom Line:

This beer is crisp and filled with bread-like caramel malts and light hops. It’s well suited for early fall drinking on a back porch or deck.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

Source: https://uproxx.com/life/best-malty-craft-lagers-for-fall/

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