Days are shorter, leaves are dropping and the Cascades have already seen their first dusting of fresh snow. Like it or not, summer is long gone. But after sipping your way through this year’s record-breaking heat with light lagers, hard seltzers and maybe a slushy sour or two, your palate is probably ready for something different, anyway. Well, when it comes to seasonal beer, it’s hard to beat the autumn months. From deliciously malty Festbiers and Märzens, to ephemeral fresh hop IPAs and the return of Barleywines and barrel-aged Stouts, fall offers a breadth of styles that other seasons have trouble matching. Here are eight Pacific Northwest beers to seek out before Old Man Winter shows up for the holidays. 

Stay Frosty IPA | Reuben’s Brews – Seattle, WA

The color of pale straw with a billowing head of foam, this IPA could be mistaken for a lager, and in a sense, that’s the point. Fruity and bright on the nose with key lime, lemon curd, star fruit and faint white pine, Reuben’s puts hops front and center and doesn’t skimp on bitterness, but keeps things light bodied with a crisp, crackery malt character. Plan on staying thirsty for Stay Frosty. (6.9% ABV)

Vienna Lager | Everybody’s Brewing – White Salmon, WA

From its gleaming garnet color to its lightness on the palate and clean, semi-dry finish, Everybody’s Vienna-style lager aims to please. Tempting aromas of brown bread and sweet toffee flow into flavors of toast, peanut candy and rich malt, all balanced with just enough earthy bitterness. This really is a lager for everybody. (5.3% ABV)

Skybright Winter Ale | Stemma Brewing – Bellingham, WA

Deep brown colored with ruby highlights, Skybright smells like caramel nut brittle and red currant jelly on a slice of toasted whole wheat bread. Medium-bodied with notes of rich coffee and milk chocolate that fade into a pleasantly herbal finish, this warming beer pairs well with stargazing and fall camping. Find a scenic spot, visit on a clear night, and crack open a can. (7.2% ABV)

Krystal’s Vice | Self Care – Olympia, WA

White gold with impressive clarity, this nonalcoholic ale brings delicate aromas of peaches, pears, flowers and sugar cookies. Light, yet not thin in body, Krystal’s Vice is approachable and easy to drink with a soft texture and a semi-sweet, doughy flavor. A nudge of grassy, herbal hops and some gentle bitterness emerge in the finish, proving that Sober October doesn’t mean giving up on beer completely. (0.5% ABV)

Cherry Parliament | Alesong Brewing & Blending – Eugene, OR

With a burgundy color that borders on purple, Cherry Parliament makes an impression in the glass and rouses the senses with aromas of walnuts, oak, chocolate covered cherries, bourbon and a faint balsamic note. Fairly tart and quenching at first, this bold, barrel-aged sour finishes semi-dry with a lovely fruity linger and an echo of vanilla. It’s like liquid music. (7.5% ABV)

Farmers’ Annuary | Fort George Brewery – Astoria, OR

Shining like a beacon to the hop obsessed among us, Farmers’ Annuary greets the nose with pine resin and tropical fruit — especially mango, passion fruit and pineapple. On the tongue, it’s crisp with notes of orange rind, lime zest, more pine, a bit of malty sweetness, and hints of herbal bitterness. Clean and dry at the end of the sip with a lingering finish, this IPA captures the essence of fresh hop season. (6.7% ABV)

Pumpkin Patch Ale | Rogue Ales & Spirits – Newport, OR

It’s a polarizing style to be sure, but nothing says fall quite like a good pumpkin ale, and this one, which earned a medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival, is among the best. Aromas of vanilla, cardamom and baking spices bloom from the glass, while the taste delivers roasted squash, a hint of ginger root, and a woody, slightly nutty finish that rounds out the sip. Think liquid pumpkin bread. (6.1% ABV)

Apple Brandy Barrel Barleywine | pFriem Family Brewers – Hood River, OR

When temperatures begin to dip, you can turn up the thermostat, or open a bottle of good Barleywine. This beer, the color of a caramel apple, oozes with the fragrance of ginger, vanilla, alcohol, candied nuts, apple cake and sticky toffee pudding, would do the trick nicely. Rich and warming with a semi-sweet finish and a trace of tannins, pFriem’s barrel-aged beauty is one for fans of something stronger. (11.8% ABV)