Fall in Austin sometimes feels the same as summer in Austin. Temperatures hover in the 90s, if we're lucky. The leaves on our magnificent live oaks remain firmly, gloriously green. So we have to feel the autumnal vibes in other ways. Besides covering our porches in carved pumpkins, lighting up cranberry-scented candles and stuffing our feet into knee-high boots at the first sign of a temperature drop, we can buy seasonal beers from local breweries.
In the fall, brewers tend to release malty Oktoberfest styles, sweet pumpkin beers and grassy fresh-hop versions of their IPAs. Here, those are the norm, too, although not every seasonal stays true to trend. Below, we offer a list of the Austin beers to seek out right now, with a mix of both traditional fall offerings and others that buck expectation because, hey, it's Austin, and it's still hot outside.
4th Tap's House of Torment Pumpkin Ale
Pumpkin beers have their haters because of an often overly sweet profile. But this one — first brewed last year to offer at Austin's premier haunted attraction, House of Torment — isn't like the others. Featuring 240 pounds of roasted pumpkin, 4th Tap's version is a light, 5% ABV beer subtly spiced with fall's most popular fruit. Find it again in cans at House of Torment, as well as in the North Austin taproom and at stores like H-E-B.
Austin Beerworks Montecore Märzen
Fall doubles as the season of bratwurst, polka music and beer steins that we can barely hold. Montecore is the beer to put in those steins. The märzen-style lager, the main beer of the O.G. Oktoberfest in Munich, has a "malty sweetness, floral German hops and a clean lager finish," according to the North Austin brewery. That flavor profile makes it as traditional to the style as you can hope for in the U.S. Just don't drop that mug.
>> RELATED: Where to enjoy an essential fall event, Oktoberfest, in Austin
Circle Brewing's Tuxedo T-Shirt Black IPA
Throw high IPA-levels of hops together with roasted barley — the type of highly kilned grain you'd typically see in a stout — and this oxymoron of a beer style is what you get. Because of that roasted character complementing the bitter burst of hops, the IPA is the hop lover's dark brew during the fall and winter months. Circle's seasonal is no exception. Now canned, the Tuxedo T-Shirt is an elegant expression of the four hops used.
Independence Brewing's Oklahoma Suks Cream Ale
It's a tradition you can count on even when the leaves don't turn. The Texas Longhorns will always have a rivalry with the Oklahoma Sooners. And Independence will faithfully release burnt-orange cans of the Oklahoma Suks beer to celebrate college football season. This year, though, there's a new beer in the cans, a cream ale that the local brewery is testing out for next year's seasonal lineup. An ale that drinks like a lager, it's the perfect accompaniment to a crisp autumn evening in Texas.
Last Stand Coffee Porter
If it just seems too dang hot for a dark brew, reconsider for one of Last Stand's most underrated offerings. The 6.3% ABV, full-bodied Coffee Porter now comes in cans and will roll out again this fall as the liquid dessert substitute to your Halloween candy binges. Last Stand adds in local roasting company Summermoon Coffee's cold brew, which lends a subtle smoky flavor to the traditional porter base of sweet chocolate.
Pinthouse Pizza's Green Battles Fresh Hop Double Dry-Hopped IPA
With fall comes the arrival of harvest season — of hops. Brewers like to add newly picked hops to beers for their fresh flavors, and IPA-loving Pinthouse is no exception. The brewpub releases four-pack cans of one of the most lauded Pinthouse beers, Green Battles, on Sept. 28 with 9 1/2 pounds per barrel of wet hops. "The abundance of freshly picked Yakima hops yield oily, juicy notes of stone fruit, citrus and mango, complemented by a crisp and dry finish," according to Pinthouse.
Uncle Billy's Berdoll Brown Ale
The brown ale isn't the most exciting of beer styles. But the Barton Springs brewery has given this one a distinctly Texas twist that will make it the beer you want on festive fall nights. Featuring locally grown candied pecans from Berdoll Pecan Farm in Cedar Creek, the dark-hued seasonal is rich with notes of caramel, chocolate and smoked nuts. Thanks to the recently enacted beer-to-go law, you can take home cans of Berdoll for the first time.