October is one of the most festive months of the year. Oktoberfest wraps up in the early weeks of the month, and then we immediately turn our attention to picking and carving pumpkins, finding the perfect costume, gorging on candy…and drinking these top beers of October.

We transition from lighter beers like Czech pilsners, getting excited for darker beers like porters, many of which you can find in a store near you.

And stouts. However, may we suggest trying something new, like an oyster stout? Seriously, these beers are genuine pearls of the sea.

If all else fails, and you’re not sure what to drink, just look at our Spooky Brews Box, which has some of the most terrifying tart ales, spine-chilling stouts, and cavity-inducing candy beers of the year.


We also spent some time traveling this month. Getting back out into that big wide world can seem scary at first, but it reminds us why we love beer, especially from other cultures!

Hop Culture Senior Content Editor Grace Weitz spent 48 hours in Lille, “The Beer Capital of France,” before a ten-day trip around Belgium, exploring styles like lambic and gueuze (more on that to come next month!).

Closer to home, we explored (or reminisced) about breweries and beer bars in Manhattan and The Bronx.

And one of our freelancers took a trip across the border to meet the self-proclaimed beer witch of Mexico City.

Back home, although giant skeletons and spiderwebs adorned our neighbors’ yards, and some of the beers we tried looked truly scary, we welcomed October with open arms. This truly is a fantastic time of year!

Top 10 Beers We Drank in October 2023

Classic Gueuze – Brasserie Cantillon

Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium

brasserie cantillon classic gueuze brussels belgium
Photography courtesy of Grace Weitz | Hop Culture

Lambic – Geuze – Three weeks ago, Weitz took a ten-day trip to Belgium with a group led by Bruz Beers Co-Founder Ryan Evans and Purpose Brewing Co-Owners Peter and Frezi Bouckaert, who both grew up in Belgium. Weitz will post plenty of content on where they went next month, but one of her favorite stops included Cantillon in Brussels.

The brewery, which single-handedly revived the lambic style in Belgium and worldwide, believes it makes the best version of this style.

And they’re probably right.

After a tour through the three-story brewery tucked into a side street of the Belgian capital, Weitz tried three different beers—a young lambic, the Classic Gueuze, and Saint Lamvinus Rose Gambinus.

Weitz liked the Classic Gueuze best. A melange of one-, two-, and three-year-old lambic, Cantillon’s Classic Gueuze pours a dark gold. Not as fresh or sharp as the young lambic, this gueuze drinks super smooth and a little sweeter around the edges.

With an almost champagne-like sparkle, the gueuze finishes dry on the end.

Are you wondering what the heck a lambic is anyway and how it’s different from a gueuze? Well, lucky for you, we put together a Beginner’s Guide to Lambic to walk you through all the steps.

There is no better place in the world to try lambics and gueuzes, and we’re just lucky Weitz had the opportunity to enjoy both straight from the source.


Witchhammer – Freak Folk Bier

Waterbury Village Historic District, VT

freak folk bier witchhammer czech pilsner
Photography courtesy of @freakfolkbier

Czech Pilsner – Today, pilsners have become one of the most widely consumed styles worldwide, but this type of beer traces its roots back to the Czech Republic. First produced by Bavarian brewery Josef Groll in Plzeň, Czech Republic, in 1842, pilsner technically translates to “from Pilsen (or Plzeň)” in Czech.

Beer styles from the Czech Republic are having a moment in the U.S., with many American brewers trying their hand at various styles, from Czech dark lagers to the humble Czech pilsner.

One of the all-time top-rated Czech-style pilsners on Untappd, Witchhammer is a beer of few words. Which is totally fine by us. When a beer speaks for itself, that’s all the talking we need. Now, just shut up and drink!

And if you’re looking for all the other highly rated Czech pilsners, hit the button below.


Black Butte Porter – Deschutes Brewery

Bend, OR

deschutes brewery black butte porter bendbrewdaddy instagram photography
Photography courtesy of @bendbrewdaddy

American Porter – Probably, in fact, definitely, one of the most iconic porters in the country, Black Butte Porter gets its name from the similarly iconic Black Butte lava dome that casts a shadow over Central Oregon. Likewise, Black Butte Porter cast its shadow far and wide over American porters.

Kind of the beer that put Deschutes on the map, Black Butte Porter has a luxurious mouthfeel, intense roastiness, and a beautifully balanced chocolate-coffee backbone.

If you’re looking for the epitome of American porters that you can most likely find in a store near you, you can stop reading this article and find a Deschutes Black Butte Porter right now.

Then ,hit the button below to discover all the rest!


Wytchmaker – Jester King Brewery

Austin, TX

jester king brewery wytchmaker rye ipa
Photography courtesy of Jester King Brewery

Rye IPA – First released in October of 2010, Wytchmaker could just be Jester King’s scariest beer.

Scary good, that is!

Brewed with Texas-grown San Jacinto Two Row and Wildfire Pale Malt from TexMalt, malted rye, and oats, Wytchmaker combines the peppery spice of a rye-heavy grain bill with assertive hop aroma and bitterness to create a singularly dry, early, and floral IPA.

Kettle hopped with Citra and El Dorado, and dry hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic Cryo, Wytchmaker has us saying: “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

You can find Wytchmaker in our Spooky Brews Box while supplies last. But hurry! Only a few of these left!


Duvel – Duvel Moortgat

Puurs, Vlaanderen, Belgium

duvel belgian strong golden ale
Photography courtesy of @duvel_belgium

Belgian Strong Golden Ale – Weitz also tried this beer fresh in Belgium. And she can tell you that, while this beer seems simple from the outside—a combination of pure spring water, barley, and Slovenian and Czech hops—Duvel Moortgat brews this Belgian strong golden ale with immaculate precision and attention to detail.

The beer takes ninety days to make, fermenting in tanks from twenty to twenty-six degrees Celsius with an original house yeast strain that, according to Duvel, Victor Moortgat, son of founder Jan-Leonard Moortgat, selected himself from Scotland in the 1920s!

Only when maturing in storage tanks and cooling down to negative two degrees Celsius is Duvel finally ready to bottle, adding extra sugar for a two-week secondary fermentation as the beer warms again to twenty-four degrees Celsius.

See, making Duval is an exact science. And it’s not finished.

A further six-week lagering in cold cellars ensures this Belgian strong golden ale tastes like none other in the world.

Which is why 3,625 people gave Duvel a 5.0 rating on Untappd this year.

This is the beer with the fourth most five-star check-ins on Untappd in 2023. What comes in the top three spots? 👇👇👇


Oyster Stout – Hen House Brewing Company

Santa Rosa, CA

henhouse brewing company oyster stout
Photography courtesy of @henhousebrewing

Oyster Stout – You don’t find them very often, but like pearls in oysters, when you do, oyster stouts are worth all the treasure of the sea. Which is why we dedicated an entire piece this month to these misunderstood stouts.

HenHouse has been brewing its Oyster Stout with Tomales Bay-bred Hog Island Oyster Co. oysters for over a decade. Considered one of the brewery’s flagship beers (pretty unusual; in fact, can you name another brewery that counts an oyster stout as one of its core beers?), Oyster Stout is the only beer HenHouse has brewed consistently since 2012.

A tribute to the area’s local waterways, HenHouse’s Oyster Stout also includes Sonoma County-grown barley, those aforementioned Tomales Bay oysters, and San Francisco Bay sea salt.

Talk about terroir! With every sip of its inky blackness, Oyster Stout gives you a taste of Northern California.


The Devil’s Staircase – Widowmaker Brewing Company

Braintree, MA

widowmaker brewing the devil's staircase hazy ipa
Photography courtesy of Widowmaker Brewing

Hazy IPA – Well, if we’re all sitting around the campfire telling scary stories this month, here’s one from Widowmaker. “If you have ever been in the taproom, you may have seen us ascending some steep stairs to dry hop some tanks. Well, this beer gets its namesake from these hellish stairs that we affectionately call THE DEVIL’S STAIRCASE. This NEIPA is low ABV but jam-packed with sinister amounts of flavor. We scaled down the Polychronic series to a soft, crushable pale ale hopped with copious amounts of Citra + Motueka. We’re getting notes of peach, guava, and a hint of blood orange.”

Drink if you dare. And preferably not while trying to walk up the devil’s stairs.

You can find this beer right here right now in our Spooky Brews Box. But hurry! The fire is dying and about to go out on this one.


Brute Gracieuse – Célestin

Lille, France

celestin brute graceiuse stout lille france
Photography courtesy of Grace Weitz | Hop Culture

StoutLille, the French city an hour north of Paris, has a rich history with beer. Some of the breweries have hundred-year-old histories. For example, Célestin traces its roots back to the sixteenth century. In fact, at the beginning of the twentieth century, 2,000 breweries called Lille home.

But for one reason or another—read two major world wars and consolidation—breweries closed or left Lille. Célestin sold to a bigger brewery in 1956, for example.

But today, the city is experiencing a bit of a beer renaissance, with places like Célestin buying back and reviving their original family brewery.

Now, founder Armaury d’Herbigny approaches beer with a contemporary slant (and a gleam in his eye).

“I don’t brew classical beers,” d’Herbigny told us. “My IPA, for example, is not an IPA but an IPA with yuzu. My triple, it’s a triple but with coriander and pepper from South Africa.”

Also a blonde ale called Le Dix with ten different hops and an entire, very elegantly deployed barrel aging program.

When Weitz visited, one of her favorite beers she tried included Brute Gracieuse. “Do you understand brute gracieuse?” d’Herbigny asked her with a little smile. “It’s an oxymoron.”

Typing the phrase into Google Translate, he showed her that the name means “graceful brute.”

A stout barrel-aged in Sauternes and Porto barrels between six months and two years, Brute Gracieuse is not too strong, which d’Herbigny attributes to the barrel aging used to refine the beer instead of increase the booziness. “I love this one,” d’Herbigny shared.

In all fairness, d’Herbigny says he loves all his beers, but Brute Gracieuse exquisitely epitomizes the Lille beer scene—creative, refined, getting better with age.


Garambullo Roja – Cerveceria Itañeñe

Mexico City, Mexico

Brut IPA – Lucía Carrillo considers herself a witch. The head brewer and founder of Cerveceria Itañeñe in Mexico City finds comfort in that identity for many reasons. Her outward appearance of long, black hair, a preference towards black clothing, and her pet cat reflect that persona to most who meet her. But inwardly, Carrillo says no reason speaks to her more than overcoming the challenges she faces in the industry. “This industry in Mexico is very male-dominated, maybe even more than in the United States,” she says.

But Carrillo persevered, working her way up from homebrewer to brewery owner, opening Cerveceria Itañeñe.

Carrillo prides herself on using fresh, local, native ingredients, especially fruit.

For instance, Garambullo Roja, a brut IPA with garambullo, a cousin to the banana, also known as the bilberry cactus. Carrillo combines the fruit with Nelson Sauvin hops. The beer comes out a gorgeous rose color. And the flavor is a complex mix of citrus, almost juicy fruit-like, that combines with a dry finish to leave you wanting another taste.

Ingredients like garambullo can be expensive. The plant only produces fruit if the conditions are right. “If it rains too much or not enough, you won’t get fruit,” says Carrillo. For her, it’s about finding the right partners, like well-known chefs Enrique Olvera from the world-renowned Pujol and Elena Reygadas at the standout Rosetta.

The support of the creative chefs of these restaurants gives Carrillo the confidence that she’s working with the right ingredients and on the right path.

Currently, Itañeñe only produces about 200 barrels a year, but it is growing. And Carrillo has big dreams. She wants to open a brewery taproom and restaurant, one focused on fermented foods, in a more restaurant-focused neighborhood in Mexico City. “I can see it in my eyes,” she says


Mill Water – Simply Motive Brewing Company

Yonkers, NY

simple motive brewing company mill water coffee porter
Photography courtesy of @simplemotivebrewing

Porter – The Hop Culture crew fondly recounts its time in New York. But while in the City That Never Sleeps, the team spent most of their time drinking at breweries in Brooklyn and Queens. Why? Well, not many actual breweries call Manhattan and The Bronx home. Still, there are a few, and growing.

The women- and veteran-owned Simple Motive only opened this past July, but it’s making enough intriguing waves to warrant a look. The 7-bbl brewery has a high focus on hoppy beers, but don’t sleep on some of their less hop-focused styles like the Mill Water porter.

Featuring medium roast coffee, this porter drinks smoky, chocolatey, and smooth, making it perfect for October.

Especially because fall, and this month in particular in New York, is seriously a special time of year.