Picking out a pumpkin for Halloween can be a daunting endeavor for sure.
As the man or woman on the tractor tows you along as you sit perched on a bale of hay, and as your eyes scan the patch for the perfect pumpkin, you envision how your Jack O’ Lantern will turn out this year!
Just as there are endless options in the pumpkin patch, so are there seemingly endless amounts of Pumpkin Ales to choose from as well.
Often released as fall seasonal beers, what goes into Pumpkin Ales varies from brewery to brewery. Adding hand cut pumpkins into the mash, brew kettle, or fermentor is one way to achieve the acquired taste, while some brewers take a different road and use either pumpkin flavoring or pumpkin puree.
Much like a pumpkin pie, pumpkin beers need a little assistance in the form of spices. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ground ginger, and allspice are some of the tricks and treats used to enhance the flavors and aromas of Pumpkin Ales.
Being typically mild, many Pumpkin Ales are also known to have a thick, starchy, thick-ish mouthfeel as well.
Pumpkin Beers To Try
In an effort to limit your worries solely to the pumpkin patch, we at Blog About Beer “carved” out some time to taste and go over some of the Pumpkin Ales available this season!
Shipyard Brewing Co Pumpkinhead
This 4.7% ABV pumpkin wheat ale has very light whispers of the flavors and spices typically used for Pumpkin Ales. Having more spice notes than actual pumpkin, this very light-bodied pumpkin ale is very unassuming in its subtlety.
Wasatch Brewing Pumpkin Ale
Brewed with barley and pure pumpkin, this 4.0% ABV has a touch of sweetness on the nose with heavy vanilla notes that makes the drinker think of Cream Soda. With just a touch of pumpkin, this light-bodied offering is a little sweeter than the others.
Uinta Brewing Punk’n
Part of the Organic Line from Uinta, this Pumpkin Ale is brewed with seasonal spices and fresh pumpkin. Lighter-bodied, this pumpkin beer is very easy drinking. With touches of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, this brew also has a hint of breadiness to it. With only a touch of sweetness, an almost vegetable-esque quality emerges in the finish of this beer.
Buffalo Bill’s Brewery America’s Original Pumpkin Ale
With very, very, light pumpkin on the nose and in the taste, this 5.2% ABV offering has a touch more carbonation than the others. This beer also has a “little more skunk in the trunk,” as it were, in regard to the light sourness on the finish.
Oakshire Brewing Big Black Jack
What would this time of year be without a little chocolate from trick-or-treating? This next brew takes care of that as it is an Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. At 7.5% ABV, this porter had heavy chocolate and espresso aromas on the nose. With a subtle, light spice, this beer uses both whole roasted pumpkins as well as toasted pumpkin seeds. With the cocoa and coffee notes taking center stage, the pumpkin flavor is more evident in the aftertaste.
Southern Tier Pumpking
Aptly named, this ale made from orange pumpkins may as well be a blueblood! With its intense pumpkin flavor and vanilla notes, the bottle recommends this beer be chilled to 40° and served in a goblet. This complex blend of a beer touted as “Bewitched and Brewed with Pagan Spirit” consists of puréed pumpkin. Being almost buttery on the nose, this 8.6% ABV beverage is sweet with hints of brown sugar. Having had this one on draught as well, I recommend letting this one open up, as right out of the bottle it is tight. Dethroning this monarch will take more than just storming the castle. Long Live the King!
So while you’re cracking open the top of a pumpkin to start carving, crack open one of these Pumpkin Ales to enjoy. And of course, drinking and knives don’t always go together, so imbibe and carve responsibly!
What’s your favorite pumpkin beer? Add it to the comments below.
Note: Next week look for our post on Elysian Brewing Co’s pumpkin beer lineup.