Sorry, pumpkin beer fans: we won’t be writing about pumpkin beer this year. The trend has long passed its expiration date -- and who the heck wants to drink that stuff now, anyways? If you want a beer to drink in the fall, we’d recommend a fresh hop IPA, an amber ale, or a stout (without pumpkins in it).
Look, we’ve got plenty of totally legitimate reasons why pumpkin beers should be avoided at all costs:
There are zero new interesting pumpkin beers this season.
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...Well, yeah, so there’s New Belgium Brewing Co., which is releasing a supercharged variant of their tasty IPA called Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin. And as you might guess from the name, it’s got quite a kick from Habanero peppers -- and Saigon cinnamon, for some extra seasonal flair. And sure, a spicy pumpkin beer sounds kind of intriguing...but whatever.
Another beer we couldn’t care less about is this new Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Bourbon Pumpkinator. Sure, Saint Arnold’s Pumpkinator imperial stout is a total classic, what with its huge pumpkin pie notes. And throwing it in bourbon barrels could be good. But throwing any beer into a bourbon barrel usually ends up pretty good. Shit, this beer is gonna be pretty good, isn’t it?
There are also zero noteworthy pumpkin beers coming back this season.
Of course you’re going to bring up Elysian Brewing Co., which is well-known for the many pumpkin brews it continues to create and revive each season over the last 20 years. But that’s just one brewery! So what if they’re releasing four pumpkin beers, including Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, The Great Pumpkin, Dark O’ The Moon, and Punkuccino -- the latter of which has a cult following for its short shot of Stumptown Coffee toddy??? Yes, that does sound like our favorite Pumpkin Spice drink from a certain Seattle coffee chain -- yet significantly more refined and way boozier -- but...but...nahhhh.
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Pumpkin beer doesn’t even taste like pumpkin.
Fine, so Schlafly Beer’s Pumpkin Ale does taste more like pumpkin pie than most pumpkin pies do. And we got a tip that Schlafly is aging it right now in rum barrels, to release it later this year as part of their From The Ibex Cellar Series. So you can expect a bunch of delicious vanilla notes that mingle perfectly with the rich pumpkin flavors…. But who cares?! Who cares about pumpkin beers?! Except for maybe this one!
You can’t get a pumpkin beer in a can.
You know what? Speaking of java-infused beer -- and pumpkin beers coming back for the season -- it turns out that Littleton, Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery is re-releasing its Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte in cans. Not many pumpkin beers on the market have that hit of nitro -- it lends a creamy mouthfeel to a beer with cold-pressed coffee beans and that familiar mix of pumpkin spices. So perhaps that could be seen as noteworthy...if you’re into creamy nitro beers. Crap, we kind of are. Nitro beers are delicious.
Pumpkin beers are never strong enough.
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And speaking of Colorado breweries, Boulder, Colorado’s Avery Brewing Co. has released a new batch of Rumpkin, its crazy delicious pumpkin beer with a crazy high ABV (16.9%!). We know we said earlier that no one cares about pumpkin beers aged in rum barrels, but...okay, yeah, we may have been wrong about that. Rumpkin’s been around for about seven years, which makes it an OG pumpkin beer. And we can’t deny that when owner Adam Avery says the idea behind it was to make it taste like a “pumpkin pie soaked in rum,” it makes us want to crack open a bottle or ten.
Well, after writing about nine different stellar pumpkin beers, we realize we may have very badly contradicted the headline of this story. So fine, yeah: we suppose it can’t hurt to drink a pumpkin brew or two this fall.
….But we’re definitely not covering Oktoberfest beers. We would never write about such a boring-ass, played-out style! What are we, poseurs??
(That Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest is pretty damned good, though...)
Note: Elysian Brewing Co. and Breckenridge Brewery are members of The High End, owned by Anheuser-Busch.