The Best Amber Ales in 2021

If craft beer has a style that tastes like late October, it’s got to be the amber ale. Red in color and carrying a bit more malty weight than a pale or a lager, this beer is built to accompany scarves, the raking of leaves, and playoff baseball.

Fans of medium-bodied beer with notes of caramel and nuts will find pure bliss in the amber ale. It’s great with a lot of the heavier fare we’re eating in autumn in addition to classic Americana like burgers and onion rings. Have one while you’re taking on a homemade soup recipe or wading through a sea of Halloween candy.

Part of the amber ale’s appeal is its middle-of-the-road-ness. It’s a beer perfectly wedged between refreshing summer options and hearty winter sippers, pulling traits evenly from either side of the spectrum. Even those who don’t claim to be that into beer often find some redeeming qualities in the amber. And unlike IPA, there’s not an overwhelming number of amber ales on the market. Just a reasonable amount of quaffable ales, some better than others, that greet the crisp weather wonderfully.

So, ditch the ubiquitous Fat Tire and try one of these decidedly more interesting amber ales this autumn.

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale Can

Rich, nutty, and balanced, this amber from California is among the best, crafted since 1987. There a warm and subtle baking spice element to the beer, which is rounded out by four hop varieties and two types of malts. The Boont Amber finds a way to be simultaneously crisp and rich. 

Alaskan Amber Ale

Alaskan Amber Ale Can

Alaskan has been turning out its tasty amber for many years now. The beer has become so popular it’s pretty much synonymous with the Alaskan name. A nice balance of toasty notes and hops, it’s a beer

Ninkasi Dawn of the Red

Ninkasi Dawn of the Red Ale Six-Pack Bottles
Ninkasi Brewing/Facebook

This Oregon-brewed beer is a hybrid of sorts, blending an IPA with an amber or red ale. It touts an incredibly satisfying hop bill atop a nice malty backbone that offers some toffee notes. And with a little more in the ABV department (7%), it’s a great pre-bedtime nightcap.

Bell’s Amber Ale

Bell's Amber Ale Bottle

Michigan brewery Bell’s makes a dandy of an amber. It’s got a little bit of everything, from citrus notes to herbal qualities, along with toffee flavors and a bit of nuttiness. And it’s quite pretty in the glass, pouring a robust honeyed amber hue.

Maine Beer Company Zoe

Maine Beer Company Autumn
Maine Beer Company/Facebook

One of the more buzzed-about ambers in the American beer scene, Zoe is a deftly made example from the East Coast. It’s woodsy, with dried fruit, raisin, and baking chocolate notes. The hops, a blend of Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe, shine through brightly, cutting into the underlying richness.

Cigar City Tocobaga

Cigar City Tocobaga Beer Can

Florida may not jump to mind when you think of fall, but this beer from Tampa’s Cigar City is very in-season. The name comes from the indigenous group that once called the Gulf Coast home. Like the Ninkasi beer above, it’s part IPA, with a nice zap of bitterness to counteract the bakery-esque flavors of the malt bill. 

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