With Fall in full effect, I wanted to talk about some seasonal pumpkin beers. Even though it’s not my favorite style of beer by any means, it’s only fair that I highlight some of the tasty ones. It’s no secret that I’m partial towards the hazies and the sours, so this’ll help me expand my repertoire and general knowledge of beer. Shoot, maybe I’ll even learn something new about pumpkins! Let’s get into it.
Pumpkin beers are much less basic than pumpkin spice coffee, which, by the way, doesn’t even use pumpkin, but that’s beside the point. Those who look forward to pumpkin beers each Fall are not eagerly awaiting the use of a dumb hashtag (#PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) in their Instagram post; they are looking forward to tasting whatever pumpkin dessert creation that was forged by their local brewer.
Now onto the brews! -Will
Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Lakewood, NY | Pumking Nitro | Pumpkin Beer
It’s only fair to start with one of the original, most desired pumpkin beers there is: Pumking. However, this year, Southern Tier brewed up a batch with Nitro, to make it smoother and creamier. They also throw in real pumpkin meat and pie spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and of course, some secret spice combos as well. Malty and bready flavors are complimented by the cinnamon and vanilla which results in the classic “Pumpkin Pie in a Glass.”
Southern Tier also makes a variant of Pumking with Cold Press Coffee, and a variant that sits in rum barrels for months before it gets bottles and hits the stores. I haven’t been fortunate enough to get my hands on either one of these, but word on the street is that they’re super legit and shouldn’t be passed up.
4 pk 16 oz cans | 8.6% ABV | No IBU
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, DE | Punkin Ale | Brown Ale
Dogfish Head’s pumpkin beer is a full-bodied American Brown ale brewed with real pumpkin meat, brown sugar, and undisclosed spices. The nose is clean and spicy, which leads into the sweet and subtle flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon on the palate. No flavor is overpowering, and nothing takes away the qualities from the base brown ale.
This would be a good one to try if you’re not super into pumpkin beers or pumpkin flavor, pumpkin is simply featured in this beer, as opposed to being the main flavor.
6 pk btls | 7.0% ABV | 28 IBU
Prairie Artisan Ales
Krebs, OK | Basic Becky | American Imperial Stout
Basic Becky is literally the perfect name for this whole style of beer. It’s seriously awesome. On the label, it says, ‘”OMG Becky, Prairie made a pumpkin beer.’ ‘I know! I literally cannot even right now.’” The label also features a Jack-O-Lantern taking a selfie with a cup of coffee. Like, c’mon, that’s perfect.
Alright, I’ll talk about the juice under the label. Basic Becky is an Imperial Stout brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, clove, and caraway, and a smidgen of pumpkin spice coffee for good measure.
12 oz btl | 11% ABV | No IBU
Avery Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO | Pump[KY]n | Pumpkin Beer
This bourbon barrel aged beast is perfect for any lover of pumpkin beer, and lover of barrel aged stouts, and many boozehounds. Clocking in at 18% ABV, this enormous brew tastes like real pumpkin meat, with warm spice from the use of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. The bourbon barrel adds sweet, smoky, vanilla flavors that exemplify this bottled dessert.
Enjoy it now, or throw this bad boy in your cellar to develop for years to come. If you get lucky, you could find one that already has a couple years of age to it. In fact, the bottles that we have at the Chanhassen store (my home base) are from the good old 2016 vintage. This was the third release of this annual brew, and the 2016 vintage actually clocks in at 18.8%. Not a bad idea to share this one, perhaps?
12 oz btl | 18% ABV | 65 IBU
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