This time of year, we’re all about oompah music and Oktoberfest lagers, but other German styles are perfect for the autumn spotlight, too. Add some flair to your Oktoberfest party by serving up fresh, American-made versions of classic German lagers. They’ll be perfect for washing down pretzels.
Zipline Copper Alt
Simultaneously nuanced, expressive and clean, this copper-colored altbier from Lincoln, Nebraska, is likely to be one of the most versatile beers in your fridge. Toasted, near-cocoa malt flavors surge over the tongue before sweet toffee and bread notes ease the sip to a balanced finish. Mild and even, it’s easy to knock back.
Stoudts Gold Lager
Each component of this Pennsylvania-brewed Munich helles works in tandem: Crackerlike aromas bolster grassy, woody hops in the nose; doughy grain flavors pave the way for spicy, peppery hops on the sip. Bitterness isn’t high, but in a beer this soft, it helps close the swallow. If fall weather is still on the warm side, reach for this refreshing, sunshine-colored pint.
Great Lakes Dortmund Gold
It’s available year-round, but Cleveland-brewed Dort (as you might begin affectionately calling it) is prime for fall. Crusty, lightly sweet bread malts wash over the tongue to start the smooth sip, before firm, herbal hops arrive a beat later. The swallow finishes more bitter than most lagers—a perk for palates accustomed to hop assaults.
Uinta Baba Black Lager
Seeking something on the darker end of the spectrum? Salt Lake City’s Uinta brews this schwarzbier (literally, “black beer”) with plenty of roasted malts for a toasty and subtly nutty swallow. Following brown bread crust notes and a dab of earthy hops, this creamy but light-bodied brew finishes crisp and dry.
Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock
When the mood calls for a rich autumn beer, this Connecticut-brewed, mahogany-hued doppelbock is a classic. Linger over its aroma before diving in: Rum cake mingles with dates and brown sugar in the nose, while a swirl brings out cinnamon bark spice. It’s equally decadent on the tongue, with cereal grains to complement raisin and molasses sweetness.
A good Munich dunkel, like this example from Des Moines, Iowa, combines toasted malt richness with a not-too-sweet finish—a win for drinkers who like big bready flavors. Warm baked apple notes mingle alongside challah toastiness for additional intrigue.