Golden deliciousness in the fall season

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The Spectrum

Brooklyn Brewery Octoberfest

Brooklyn does it again by releasing the pinnacle of autumn brown ale. This Octoberfest cures the post-summer blues – created by the absence of their summer ale – with that new special something: balance. The carbon is crispy without a bite, the flavors are bold without moving into the melodramatic, and the color is a rich brunette.

Long Trail Harvest Brown Ale

It has a little too much of its finest qualities, but it succeeds where others fall quite short. Its smoky finish and nitrogen head tastes like a mouthful of pumpkin and squash with a palate of freezing earth and a big pile of red maple leaves. Its gustatory strength is its only shortcoming, laying the "good stuff" on a little too thick. For many, it's like whole milk to a skim drinker.

Great Lakes Oktoberfest

This has to be one of the better autumn beers. Some argue that this beer is a little too sweet, but it won a gold medal at the 2008 World Beer Championship. We don't recommend spending an entire night drinking this, but one or two in a night does the body good.

Saranac Octoberfest

A hint of cocoa, good color and a bubbly carbon head makes for a good twist in the normally bland taste of Saranac original. This fall flavor is a good choice from start to finish, and we'll admit it – even the marketing gets us. A wooden picket lawn chair with an autumn lake view is how an Octoberfest should taste. The taster can tell that this was a recipe with a vision, and it proves to be a recipe of great success as well.

Pearl Street Grill's "Perlenstrasse"

Its novel means of service and the ambiance within which it is served are among the other aspects that add to the taste and form of the Perlenstrasse. Only available at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery at 76 Pearl St. in downtown Buffalo, this seasonal probably won't be around next year. The Pearl Street Brewery's brewing turnaround is in constant flux, and they mix up fresh tastes all the time.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Falling short of its usual brewing excellence, Samuel Adams misses the mark on yet another round of Octoberfest this year. This Sam Adams is quite possibly one of the most overrated autumn beers, making followers wince in distaste. For as great as their summer and winter beers are, this Octoberfest tastes like it was shoddily mixed together.

Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Sam Adams is making its first foray into the pumpkin ale phenomenon with this pumpkin-tinted brew. Harvest Pumpkin Ale has only a faint taste of any pumpkin, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It doesn't have to be October for someone to enjoy this beer, which can't be said for a lot of the overpowering pumpkin beers. For as boring as Samuel Adams' Octoberfest tastes this year, the Harvest Pumpkin Ale makes up for it.

Blue Moon Brewing Companies Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale

Lacking the usual malty coriander taste, this beer's bold amber color and the aesthetic zest of adding an orange to your pint glass form a harvest seasonal that just tastes, well, bad. The variety pack could tempt unknowing amateurs into falling into this Blue Moon trap.

Southern Tier Pumking

All rise for the king; Southern Tier Brewing Company is slowly growing from a small local brewery to a nationally known name, largely due to their Pumking. The golden-amber head actually tastes like a pumpkin pie and the beer finishes with a mild-spicy aftertaste. With its 8.8 percent alcohol by volume, a few of these delectable brews will make you feel great. The only downfall we see is that it's only available in a 22 oz. bomber, so it's a little pricey. But since when is having 22 oz. a problem?

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