5 Pumpkin-Free Beers You Need to Drink This Autumn

Over pumpkin spice? Local brewers got your back.

The pumpkin craze is officially in full swing—and a bit out of control, with everything from cereal, candy and even deodorant (yes, really) getting the pumpkin-spice treatment. While some people wait all year for taps at their favorite bar to turn into a pumpkin patch, others are just not that into it. If you’re one of the pumpkin averse don’t worry, here are five beers to get you in the autumn spirit—no sugared rim required.

1. Stop Looking at Me Swan
Barrage Brewing Company

Stop Looking at Me Swan by Barrage Brewing Company is a maple pecan cream stout, made with dark chocolate malt, 60 pounds of maple syrup and whole roasted pecans. The result is a rich, chocolatey beer with sweet notes and a nuttiness throughout. “Fall, maple and pecan pie just go together,” says owner and brewer Steve Pominski. If you’re looking for a dessert beer but feeling a little burned out on pumpkin spice, this one’s for you.

2. Tafelbier
Sand City Brewing Co.

Sand City Brewing Co. Tafelbier is a low alcohol, high flavor Belgian beer. Tafelbier is Belgian for “table beer,” which came to mean a beer that you could enjoy a few of—particularly with a meal. The Tafelbier from Sand City is built on a solid malt base of Munich, Pilsner, Cara Munich and Wheat Malts and is fermented using traditional Belgian yeast. The finished product is refreshing and slightly funky while feeling simultaneously light and full. Since fall beers are traditionally dark, heavier and full of added spice, this is a nice departure that still feels seasonally appropriate.

3. Orval
Orval Trappist Brewery

On the opposite end of the Belgian spectrum is Orval, a genuine Trappist beer first brewed in 1931. Orval is the only beer commercially produced at the Orval Trappist Brewery and it’s widely regarded as one of the best beers in the world. Lucky for us, it’s readily available in the United States. The Belgian ale is dry hopped and matured with a wild Bretanomyces yeast, which imparts a light sour flavor. By the time the distinct looking 33 cl. bottles of Orval arrive here, they are usually at least a year old. Orval can be aged for many years and the flavor will continue to change and evolve. There are notes of leather, bread, caramel and fruit throughout with a faint bitter aftertaste. It’s a truly one of a kind beer that’s perfect for a chilly fall night.

4. Really Old Brown Dog
Smuttynose Brewing Company

Really Old Brown Dog by Smuttynose Brewing Company began as a seasonal offering, but is now available year-round. Still though, the strong, full bodied old ale always strikes us as a beer to open when the weather starts to change. At 11% ABV, you can share a 12 oz. bottle with a friend and sip it like a port wine. In fact, it’s aged on port soaked oak chips which add fruity, vinous notes to an already slightly sweet, extremely malt heavy beer. Like Orval, this beer can be aged. We put aside a couple bottles years ago and the flavor only gets richer and more intense as time goes by.

5. Long Island Potato Stout
Blind Bat Brewery

Blind Bat Brewery’s Long Island Potato Stout is a pretty self-explanatory name. The dry, low ABV stout is brewed with twice mashed, locally grown organic potatoes. The potatoes,either Yukon Gold or Keuka Gold, depending on availability,contribute to the dry nature of the stout. This seasonal stout made its debut in 2009 and was the first Blind Bat beer brewed with local ingredients. Since then, brewer and owner Paul Dlugokencky has incorporated locally grown vegetables, herbs and hops into many of his beers. For us, Long Island Potato Stout is the perfect example of a staple fall beer: dark and roasted without being too heavy. Plus, we’ve used it in a couple hearty beer stew and soup recipes and enjoyed the rest of the bottle with our meal.