Review: The best CNY-brewed beers to try this fall

Review: CNY-brewed beers to try this fall

From traditional German lagers to malt coffee draughts, local breweries pulled out all the stops to ring in the autumnal season.
Published: October 20, 2022

There’s nothing like the first sip of a cold beer on a chilly afternoon in Central New York. With deep red, burnt orange and golden yellow leaves painting the landscape around us, we felt inspired to broaden our horizons and explore the local brewery scene’s seasonal specials.

We didn’t have to look very far, because Syracuse’s best brews were only a short distance away from our home base (SU’s Campus).

First, we started at The Buried Acorn Brewing Company’s newest location down the hill from campus. Then, we made our way downtown to Talking Cursive Brewing Company — and realized that we could walk to our next destination Middle Ages Brewing Company from there!

Lastly, we ended our excursion at Willow Rock Brewery, where we were just in time for a golden hour sunset against the rolling hills in the distance.


Wackaloon (left), Pumpkin Shoreski (middle) and Oktoberfest with Coffee (right) are Buried Acorn Co.'s three seasonal brews.

The Buried Acorn Brewing Company

Oktoberfest With Coffee

Other | 6.1% ABV

For those who are interested in adding a kick to their caffeine but are hesitant to commit to an Irish coffee, we have fantastic news: Buried Acorn Co.’s beloved Oktoberfest was made into an additional coffee brew (pun intended) with Salt City Coffee’s popular cup of joe. The coffee edition embodies all qualities of the original Wackaloon, while seamlessly incorporating a light, malty essence.

It would be remiss of us to exclude bar manager Alex Pilger’s note that customers looking for fall fun should come in and carve a pumpkin. Once the pumpkin is carved into a beverage-holding shape, Pilger recommends pouring the Pumpkin Shoreski into the makeshift pumpkin cup to take the taste to the next level. While this tradition is growing in popularity, Pilger claims that Buried Acorn Brewing Co. started the fun trend that “gets you back into your childhood.”

Pumpkin Shoreski

Dark Ale | 6.7% ABV

The Pumpkin Shoreski is the perfect selection for those who love all things pumpkin. The sweet, autumn flavor is born from the masterful mixture of the festive fruit with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and more. Undertones of chocolate are present in the aftertaste, a nod to the brewery’s collaboration with Nostalgia Chocolate on the brew.

Wackaloon (Oktoberfest)

Märzen | 6.1% ABV

If you’re on the hunt for a cross between sweet and savory, the original Oktoberfest is for you. The pure-only traditional German lager (Märzen) is made from the classic ingredients of water, barley, hops, yeast and sugar, doing its heritage justice with its smooth, rich tone. While vibrant in taste, the lager remains balanced and refrains from the bitterness of a darker ale.


900 E. Fayette St.

Syracuse, NY, 13210


Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Brunch Close 9 p.m.

Monday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Talking Cursive Brewing Company

Sweet Potato Brown

Pumpkin/Yam Beer | 5.7% ABV

While the Sweet Potato Brown does not particularly taste like sweet potato, it makes a warm and welcoming impression with a saccharine aftertaste that left us wanting more. The brew has a mellow, seasonal charm to it without conveying a distinct flavor. Due to the even nature of the yam beer, we are willing to take an educated guess that it would pair well with various bar snacks, the brewery’s naan bread pizza, or their array of burgers and tacos.

Talking Cursive Brewing Co.'s autumn brews include a variety of flavors, from Subliminal Simplicity (left), to Crispy Girls After Dark (middle left), to Infantry Weather (middle right) and Sweet Potato Brown (right).

Crispy Girls After Dark

Dark Lager | 5.2% ABV

Crispy Girls After Dark lives up to its cheeky name, offering a deep and refreshing flavor. The dark lager may look like it is going to be bitter, but instead it surprised our taste buds with its calm, soothing first sip and eventual fade into a subtle yet assertive flavor. Neither savory nor sweet, the brew accurately depicts the “crispiness” promised by its name. For someone interested in a medium-bodied beer, we recommend you spend your night chugging Crispy Girls (after dark, of course).

Infantry Weather

Stout-Imperial/Double | 11.8% ABV

We felt a bit civilian trying Infantry Weather, but if you think you are up for that 11.8% challenge, we applaud you. With the bitterness of a stormy day, the incredibly boozy brew stirred up a tornado in our mouths as we naively took a big sip. While darker beer may not be our forté, we still appreciate its powerful punch and encourage brave beer-lovers to take on what was for us, an infantry-level challenge.

Subliminal Simplicity

Cream Ale | 4.8% ABV

Before trying Subliminal Simplicity, we suggest you enjoy the perfumey, fruity aroma of the cream ale. With a lower percentage than some of the other brews, the gentle simplicity of the brew makes the golden ale light and easy to drink. The caveat of this light and easy drink, however, is the idea that we wouldn’t mind drinking quite a few…


301 Erie Blvd. W.,

Syracuse, NY, 13202


Sunday – Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Wednesday: 4-9 p.m.

Thursday: 4-10 p.m.

Friday: 3-11 p.m.

Saturday: 12-11 p.m.

Lindsey Smiles leaves Willow Rock Brewery with her favorite seasonal brew Crumpet.

Willow Rock Brewery


Oatmeal Stout | 6.5% ABV

For all black coffee lovers out there, we think you would absolutely love the brunch brew. Unlike Buried Acorn Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest With Coffee, brunch has a strong coffee roast taste without the sweetness of Salt City Coffee, which is because Willow Rock collaborated with Recess Coffee to create the bold blend. What makes Brunch so scrumptious is the combination of oatmeal, Cedarvale maple syrup and the highly regarded coffee worthy of the typical line down the block during the Recess morning coffee rush.


Mild-Light | 3.5% ABV

As described on the menu, the light beer has “biscuit and caramel overtones” that mix wonderfully with English malts. Similar to Talking Cursive Brewing Co.’s cream ale, we couldn’t put this one down — so much so that we decided to buy a case. If you don’t like to drink beer with a high volume of alcohol but like an “easy table beer,” this is the one for you. Crumpet is as endearing as it sounds and is a great way to get a buzz on while tasting nothing but sweet treats.

Reverse Vampire

Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale | 6.1% ABV

Luckily for us, there was one Halloween brew that just came out: Reverse Vampire. According to the bar staff, the IPA / dark ale combo is “good but different,” drawing a love or hate response from customers. Typically, hoppy beers are not also malty, but this limited-time brew gives the unique experience of tasting the two together. The first time you try it you taste the haziness, and the second time the intensity of the stout will hit you. Like they said on the menu, “Reverse Vampire will suck you in.”


115 Game Rd.,

Syracuse, NY, 13210


Sunday: 12-7 p.m.

Monday – Tuesday: 4-8 p.m.

Wednesday – Thursday: 4-10 p.m.

Friday: 2-10 p.m.

Saturday: 12-10 p.m.

Middle Ages Brewing Company


Amber Lager | 6.5% ABV

Unlike the Märzen lager at Buried Acorn Brewing Co., Middle Ages Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest is an amber lager. The lager has a hazy and delicious taste that will surely improve your mood. If that doesn’t do the trick, we heard they’re looking to hire a court jester.


120 Wilkinson St.,

Syracuse, NY, 13204


Sunday: 12-7 p.m.

Monday: 12-7 p.m.

Tuesday: 12-9 p.m. (Trivia 6 p.m.)

Wednesday: 12-7 p.m.

Thursday: 12-8 p.m.

Friday: 12-10 p.m.

Saturday: 12-10 p.m.

In the midst of a gloomy autumn afternoon at Middle Ages Brewing Co., light came through the old-time window and illuminated the already-glowing Oktoberfest Amber Lager.