The leaves are turning colors and it’s getting cooler outside. I try not to be too sad that my favorite season is getting ready for a long winter’s nap because we get pumpkin season to compensate!
Shelves in stores all over the country have craft pumpkin beers on them. Craft breweries are experimenting with recipes all the time and pumpkin season isn’t any different. It can be hard to know which ones to buy because there are countless brands and types of pumpkin brews to choose from. Fortunately, Husband and I have done arduous research for you to make your decision a little easier. Here are a few of our favorites to suit every pumpkin beer drinker’s taste.
If you enjoy spiced Christmas Ales and Winters Warmers then you enjoy my favorite pumpkin craft beer DogfishHead Punkin Ale (that’s not a typo, they spell it Punkin instead of Pumpkin because they are culinary rebels like that. Punkin Ale is probably easier to find for most people because Dogfish Head’s beers are sold throughout the country. Dogfish Head is known for the Imperial Pale Ales (IPA) and the same is true with their pumpkin beer. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is not overpowering in the pumpkin department, but it has the all spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors that people associate with fall.
Next up is CigarCity Good Gourd which is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale and great beer if you enjoy something on the malty side. This isn’t a soupy syrupy pumpkin flavored beer that says gimmick the first time you taste it. This is real beer and the malt backbone makes fruitiness of the pumpkin stand out and backed by spices including cinnamon, all-spice, cloves, and nutmeg. Its flavors like these that you expect when it comes to a pumpkin beer. You may need to search a bit because it can be hard to find. Worth. It.
SchlaflyPumpkin Ale is one to keep an eye out for. This beer weighs in at a hefty 8% ABV and it is perfect for a cool October evening. (Although you will need to keep a close eye on how many of these you drink if you’re planning on driving home.) This is one of the best examples of a pumpkin beer that you’ll ever find. It has both pumpkin flavor and the taste that everyone knows as beer. The balance is perfect and it is without a doubt a winner in our book
Now we’re going to talk about what many people consider the best of the best pumpkin beers (basically the friends who helped me do research for this post) Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin ale also has a high 8% ABV like Schlafly Pumpkin (which is why I shy away from high ABV brews since I am a small person. High alcohol content beers and short people don’t mix well.) The balance of pumpkin along with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom is absolutely perfect. Weyerbacher hit a home run with this pumpkin beer in every way possible. It actually tastes like beer, which is something that’s lacking in this category. This is fall in a glass and your taste buds will agree.
Personally I believe the ultimate king of the pumpkin beers is SouthernTier Pumking. If you enjoy your beer on the sweet side then you will love Pumking. Southern Tier is known for its sweeter dessert type beers and in that vein Pumpkin does not disappoint. This is the only beer on my list that greets you with the delicious smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla. At first sip Pumpkin tastes like Grandma’s pumpkin pie in a pint glass followed by light citrus spice end notes. I cannot recommend Pumpkin enough.
If you tried a pumpkin beer in the past and didn’t care for it don’t slam the entire pumpkin beer category because you really will be missing out. The best way to try these pumpkin beers is by shopping at stores that allow you to make your own six packs.
That way you don’t have to buy an entire six pack of any one of these beers and find it has 5 bottles of a pumpkin style beer that is not your taste. The best way to raise your beer IQ is to try as many beers as possible (not all in one sitting please) to experience savoring the qualities, not the quantity of craft beer. Once you know what you like, try sharing it responsibly and with friends. Good company makes everything taste even better. That’s a fact.
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