Seven Fall Beers to Enjoy on a College Budget

T he quote, “write drunk; edit sober,” is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. To my knowledge, there is no proof Hemingway actually said that, but it is with the spirit of that advice I bring you this article.

The changing of the seasons brings a shift in the varieties of beers you can purchase and enjoy, assuming you are 21 years of age, or older.

Märzens, stouts, porters and pumpkin beers are replacing the refreshing blonde ales and citrusy shandies of the summer months.

“People tend to buy heavier beers when the weather gets colder,”  said Larry Pendleton IV, the owner of Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville, Md., the largest liquor store in Prince George’s County. “They’re not looking for the sessionable, summery, light stuff.”

If you’re like me and want to drink something better than Natty Light at the next college party or gathering you attend, be on the lookout for these tasty and affordable autumn beers.

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Shiner Oktoberfest (Shiner, Texas)

This is an easy to find beer that’s not too hard on your wallet either. I picked up a 6-pack for $7.99 at Old Line but also saw it at this price at Town Hall for those without access to a vehicle.

It’s a typical American-style märzen, meaning it has a very sweet and malty flavor.

As both the Germans and this beer’s label say, “Prosit!”

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest (Frederick, Md.)

Like the Shiner Oktoberfest, this is an American-made märzen, based on the Bavarian beers served at the famous Oktoberfest fair in Munich.

This variety is less sweet compared to the Shiner, but still very malt forward. If you want a local beer and don’t mind spending a couple dollars more than you would for the Shiner, this beer might be for you.

The label artwork by Ralph Steadman is pretty cool too.

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Devil’s Backbone Pumpkin Hunter (Lexington, Va.)

This pumpkin ale comes from the mountains of Virginia. It’s fairly light and mild; the pumpkin and spices don’t overpower the ale’s sweet and malty base. There’s subtleness to this beer that saves it from the ridiculousness of other pumpkin-themed seasonal offerings. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Starbuck’s pumpkin-spice latté.)

This is also significantly cheaper than other popular pumpkin ales like Dogfish Head Punkin Ale and Southern Tier Pumking.  

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Starr Hill Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter (Crozet, Va.)

Another Virginia pumpkin beer, this one differs from the Devil’s Backbone, as it is a porter instead of an ale. This means it’s dark—black, in fact. The bubbles in the head are orange, another sign you’re drinking something meant for fall.

The pumpkin spices are more intense and the body is heavier than Pumpkin Hunter; this is a beer that can last you well into winter.

This is available at most local beer retailers for around $9.

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Yuengling Black & Tan (Pottsville, Pa.)

Yuengling Traditional Lager has a reputation for being a fairly cheap beer that is still leaps and bounds better than the crap many young drinkers buy. I’ve seen it at parties. If Yuengling is offered, it is usually gone long before the Natty Light or Natty Bo.

For something darker than the regular lager, there’s Black & Tan. Like the drink you can order at a bar, it’s a mix between a lager and a porter. Unlike the drink you can get at a bar, it’s not clearly separated by density and color, but thoroughly blended and consolidated.

This can be found just about anywhere and a six-pack typically goes for $6.99.

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Sierra Nevada Porter (Chico, Calif.)

This is the kind of beer to enjoy on a cool, autumn evening. It’s rich and hearty and will warm you up with its roasted, coffee-like flavors.

“Sierra Nevada just makes super consistent beer,” Larry Pendleton IV of Old Line said. “It’s just very well done and a very good seller.”

Sierra Nevada’s brews are widely distributed and available in six-packs at most retailers for $8.99.

(Matthew Kubisiak/Bloc Reporter)

Guinness Draught (Dublin, Ireland)

If you aren’t acquainted with some of the other beers on this list, surely you are familiar with this one.

Though Pendleton says this is a big seller all year round, I prefer Guinness most when the air is crisp and the sky is overcast, just as I imagine typical Irish weather to be.

This is an Irish Dry Stout, and while it is very similar to a porter, with its roasted coffee and chocolatey notes, it has a certain creaminess that sets it apart from other styles.

A four-pack of cans is rather expensive at $7.99, but you can pick up a six-pack of the more bitter and higher alcohol content Guinness Extra Stout for the same price.

WritersBloc_Headshots_05Matt Kubisiak is a senior broadcast journalism and film studies double major. He can be reached at

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