A Guide To Pumpkin Beer

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!

Pumpkin Beers

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.

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest1Share on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon1

About Ryan Van Brunt

Ryan is from Vancouver, Washington, a mere stone’s throw away from Portland, Oregon. Along with a love of craft beer and writing, he's a sucker for 80’s movies, hair metal, and most all other pop-culture.

Check Also


Ninkasi Releases Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout

Eugene, Oregon based Ninkasi Brewing Company just announced a new addition to their year round …


  1. Great review! I’m a fan of Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, myself, but I’ll have to track down some more of these.

  2. Great overview. Question: Where did you find the Big Black Jack around Portland? I really want to try that one…. Thanks!

  3. Great! Thanks! Looks like I’m heading to a Whole Foods this weekend…

  4. Southern Tier Pumpking is a favorite now that I can send away for it in California. I’ve reviewed many pumpkin beers (and some that are just the right thing for Halloween. Check ’em out here – http://norcalbeerblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/pumpkin-beer-roundup.html

  5. I love Schlafly Pumpkin Beer and O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer. They are both made in St. Louis, MO. Fantastic flavor in both.

  6. Dog Fish Head Pumpkin is my pumpkin beer of choice!

  7. The DC Brau/Epic collab ‘Fermentation Without Representation’.

  8. Rock Art Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout. Seriously the ONLY pumpkin brew I can stomach.

  9. I have to say, while pumpkin beers change slightly year to year, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin has been a solid pick every Fall season.

  10. Saint Arnold Pumpkinator is easily my favorite

  11. I love Pumking, but I’ll put in a good word for my local Flat 12 Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale. Really solid brew with great blend of Nutmeg, pumpkin, hint of cinnamon, and some nice vanilla flavors. cheers!!

  12. Id have to say my fave is pumking closely follwed by shipyard.

  13. Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking, hands down. I miss it here in Colorado. But a local fave is Bristol Vennetucci Pumpkin

  14. Dogfish Head Punkin. Best I’ve ever had.

  15. Shipyard smashed pumpkin. Right balance of flavors without losing the beer.

  16. Without a doubt, my vote goes to Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville, VT. I dare you to find a deeper, smoother pumpkin brew. And the recipe goes back to colonial times when they used pumpkin and spruce tips to take the place of some of the heavily taxed malts and hops they got from Britain for their ales. Go get you one of these, now!

  17. I’m into Harpoon UFO Pumpkin this year. It’s a bit sweeter but it’s good.

  18. Elysian Night Owl pumpkin ale is the best pumpkin brew I have had.

  19. Hop Squash Pumpkin IPA – Elysian Brewing Co ROCKS, drank it last year at Mondial in Strasbourg Shame no one in the UK is importing it.

  20. Sam Adams Fat Jack is a great one. Also, Cisco Pumple Drumkin from Nantucket.

  21. My favorite is Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin. Perfectly spiced.

  22. My two favorite pumpkin beers are Uinta’s Punk’n and Elysian’s Night Owl.

  23. Gotta go with Wasatch Pumpkin and Uinta Punk’n. I live in UT so I’m biased though.

  24. Awesome post! For me, it doesn’t get better than Pumking. Easily my favorite pumpkin beer out there.

  25. It’s all about Jolly Pumpkin La Parcella. How many places can pull off a sour pumpkin beer?

  26. I’ve been searching for a pumpkin porter I had one night at a bar in NYC, and I think it might be Oakshire’s! Now I am living in Estonia and pumpkin beers are scarce, but I did manage to find Wyerbacher’s in a specialty shop.

  27. Dogfish Head Pumpkin is the best I have had. Limited availability so if you find it, stock up.

  28. Southern Tier Pumpking, Seriously this is the only pumpkin I can stomach. For me, it doesn’t get better than Pumking. Easily my favorite pumpkin beer out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *