Ahhh, the fall season. It’s a time of getting drunk at 8 a.m. on game days, weather suddenly dropping 30 degrees over night and of course, pumpkin spice lattes that make white girls everywhere rejoice.

Luckily, it’s also a time of some pretty great fall seasonals in the beer game, too. We’ve decided this week to give you a breakdown of some of the different options you have for this autumn to try from some of the top breweries in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

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Leinenkugel’s Harvest Patch Shandy (Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, WI)

Style

Shandy, 4.2 percent

Aroma

Very sweet smell with only a slight hint of pumpkin, with malt and spice notes coming through much stronger

Appearance

Golden orange with a solid white head

Taste

Not as strong of a pumpkin flavor, with the spices dominating the taste, but very sweet and reminiscent of Leinie’s other shandies

Room Temperature Taste

Stays relatively the same, though malt notes dominate the finish as the beer sits more

Consensus

If you’re not much of a beer drinker and prefer things like Straw-Ber-Rita’s or other Leinenkugel shandies, then this is the fall seasonal for you. If you’re a craft beer fan, you can do much better.

Rating: 3/5

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Milwaukee Brewing Company’s Sasquash (Milwaukee Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI)

Style

American Porter, 5.0 percent

Aroma

Malt notes come through strongest, with chocolate and coffee notes following; faint smell of pumpkin.

Appearance

Deep brown with a small, caramel head

Taste

Combination of the pumpkin and sweet potato hits instantly, as chocolate malt dominates the finish

Room Temperature Taste

Remains fairly strong throughout, with the coffee becoming a bit more noticeable as the beer sits

Consensus

This is one of the most interesting fall seasonals I’ve tried. The beer is an interesting spin on what we usually see during autumn, and a great porter that combines a range of ingredients together for a unique taste.

Rating: 3.75/5

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Lakefront Brewery’s Imperial Pumpkin (Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI)

Style

Pumpkin Ale, 9.5 percent

Aroma

Caramel and brandy notes come strongest, with subtle oak and vanilla notes as well

Taste

First dominated by the caramel, but the finish is where this beer really hits with brandy and vanilla coming through strongest

Room Temperature Taste

Vanilla flavor comes in even stronger on the finish, creating a slightly subtler flavor

Consensus

In true Lakefront fashion, they have one of the better pumpkin beers on their hands. With a 9.5 percent ABV, this is a great beer for fans of Imperials to try out.

Rating: 4.25/5

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Bell’s Best Brown Ale (Bell’s Brewing Company, Kalamazoo, MI)

Style

Brown Ale, 5.8 percent

Aroma

Toast and caramel notes come off fairly strong with a slight earthy hint, presumably from the hops

Appearance

Deep, rust-brown

Taste

Toast stays through strongest from smell, with hopiness emerging much stronger than the smell

Room Temperature Taste

Becomes slightly more bitter as the beer begins to sit

Consensus

Not exactly my top choice for a beer, but for fans of Brown Ale’s, it’s another solid seasonal from Bell’s.

Rating: 3.75/5

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Karben4’s Oaktober Ale (Karben4 Brewing, Madison, WI)

Style

Oktoberfest, 5.7 percent

Aroma

Strong oak and toffee malt notes with slightly sweet, vanilla notes adding to it

Appearance

Deep copper, with a small, tan head

Taste

Oak and vanilla from the aroma comes through fairly well and combines with a strong bread-like flavor throughout

Room Temperature Taste

Bread flavor remains strong as the oak and vanilla flavors start to fade at first sip

Consensus

Definitely an interesting Oktoberfest taste coming from one of the best local brewers we have in Madison. Pretty impressed.

Rating: 4.25/5

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New Glarus’ Staghorn Octoberfest (New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI)

Style

Oktoberfest, 6.25 percent

Aroma

Faint overall smell, with bread and caramel malt notes having the most dominating aroma

Appearance

Red-copper with an off-white head

Taste

Bready malt notes transfer well to the flavor, and there is great balance between the caramel and slight cinnamon that comes through

Room Temperature Taste

 

Stays well-balanced throughout and doesn’t lose any of the caramel or cinnamon touch

Consensus

Never doubt New Glarus. No matter what style they make, it is always high-quality and well balanced. Great take on the Oktoberfest style.

Rating: 4.5/5