Paulaner Oktoberfest, Germany
This is my favorite of the traditional style from Munich. It is full-bodied, a little chewy on the palate. Its flavors and aromas shout caramel and toast in the front and then it dries up nicely in a surprisingly clean finish.
Food pairing: It is a star with spit-roasted chicken, fennel sausage, Bratwurst and Knockwurst—don’t forget the mustard on that!
Brooklyn Brown Ale, New York
This American brown ale is light in body for the amount of flavor and aromas it offers. It is perfect for evenings involving outdoor fires. It delivers nice smoke in the nose that follows onto the palate and keeps going through the finish. This smoke does a dance first with sweetish malts in the front, then with hints of chocolate and a light lingering bitter finish with just a slight hint of citrus.
Food pairing: It is wonderful with St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and blackened fish.
Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale, Delaware
The pumpkin ales being made today pay homage to the beers that colonists made with pumpkins when they didn't have enough fermentable sugars from grain. This one is made with pumpkins, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg and is very balanced and dry. Many pumpkin ales have too much of pumpkin or spice and you can forget they are beers, but Dogfish Head's is perfect to me.
Food pairing: I just had it with some butternut squash soup and I recommend it with thanksgiving turkey dinner too.
Chimay Grand Reserve, Belgium
This very rich and malty Trappist ale is too big for summer consumption in my house so, we ring in the cool weather with it every year. It is bottle conditioned, which means that it is naturally carbonated in the bottle like Champagne. This makes for small but prickly and persistent bubbles that deliver hearty flavors of malt, raisins, black currants and figs.
Food pairing: It is amazing with soft rind, stinky cheeses and holds its own with dishes like beef bourguignon.
Schneider Aventinus, Germany
A strong, dark, unfiltered hefe wheat beer from Munich, the Aventinus is made with wheat and barley malt and drinks like a meal. It is very strong and effervescent with powerful aromas of clove, ripe bananas, smoke and bubble gum.
Food pairing: It goes nicely with smoked gouda cheese, bacon dishes, stuffed mushrooms and Beef Wellington.