Yes, ‘tis the season for pumpkin beer, and though we “swore” we’d never write about the style, now we can’t stop obsessing over the stuff.
The list below covers matches for just about any type of beer drinker on the pumpkin-tolerance spectrum -- whether you’re someone who waits all year for the release of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, or that person who shuns the gourd entirely. Know a pumpkin pie lover? Or an imbiber who can't get enough vegetables? We have beers for all of them.
No matter which way you swing, remember that this season will be over before you know it -- so get your pumpkin on while you still can:
The Starbucks Addict
Elysian Brewing Punkuccino
6% ABV (Seattle, WA)
A beer laced with coffee, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg? Yes, it does sound an awful lot like Starbucks' most controversial beverage. Plus, each pint of this dark ale comes with a short shot of Stumptown coffee toddy, which gives the brew that wide-awake nuance that will help keep you going as you down the whole thing. Pumpkin definitely shines through, thanks to the addition of the squash into the mash, kettle, and fermenter. For those who truly can't get enough pumpkin spice lattes, this beer will help you transition from day to night drinking in the best way possible.
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The Undercover Lover
Southern Tier Brewing Co. Warlock
8.6% ABV (Lakewood, NY)
With a burnt caramel sweetness and a dark, biting bitterness, this black brew will make you wonder if you’re drinking an imperial stout or nibbling on a chunk of baking chocolate. The pumpkin barely peeks through, as if the squash has been bespelled by a witch and gifted the sneaky skill of stealth. It's there, though: rich, and vegetal and full of mystery. Drink it by the fire and let the warmth overtake you. And if friend happens to take a sip, he or she won't even notice that you’ve been downing pumpkin beer all night.
Tin Whiskers Brewing Co. Schottky Pumpkin Ale
6.6% ABV (Saint Paul, MN)
Though you definitely get a bit of spice on the nose, this pumpkin ale mostly tastes like someone fermented a bunch of raw slices of pumpkin and brewed a beer from the mash. It’s that fresh and vegetal. A little bit of warming spice helps balance the brew out so you don’t feel like you’re drinking straight out of a jack o'lantern. The flavor profile proves mild and slightly sweet, and the lovely frothy head gives the drink a creamy texture. Best of all, it comes in a tall boy can so you get that much more pumpkin goodness.
The Pie Fanatic
Blue Point Brewing Co. Mother Pumpkin Ale
5.5% ABV (Patchogue, New York)
If you were to sip this alongside a glass of liquified pie, no one would be able to tell the difference. (Well, save for the chunks in the glass of the actual stuff.) This beer tastes just like the classic fall dessert with a bit of malty goodness that helps round out the brew and makes it a blue ribbon winner for those who love pumpkin spice. Yes, this is the kind of pumpkin beer that pumpkin beer haters love to rag on. But for those who truly love the artistic value of a creamy, spiced, slightly bitter beer with a whole lot of sugared-pumpkin flavor, this Long Island tipple proves perfect.
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Epic Brewing Co. Imperial Pumpkin Porter
7.9% ABV (Salt Lake City, UT)
Do you spend every weekend cruising in your Lambo to attend swanky dinner parties? Than this rare and bold beer needs to be on your list. Not only is it seasonally appropriate for the fall-themed fetes you’re partial to attending, but the brewery only churns out a few thousand bottles each year, so you’ll enjoy that exclusive "look what I found" feeling. Rich and smooth, it's a great beer to serve with dessert or as a starter. Heck, this porter is so full of dark pumpkin goodness, you might just want to drink the whole bottle and skip the meal altogether.
The Sweet Tooth
Lakefront Brewery Pumpkin Lager
5.8% ABV (Milwaukee, WI)
Candy corn isn’t for everyone. But if you’re one of those people who looks forward to fall just so they can get their hands on some candy corn, well, here’s the pumpkin beer for you. It's sweet, but not cloying. And in fact, it's one of the only pumpkin lagers out there, with a natural nuttiness that plays especially nice with the whole pumpkins used to brew the beer. As a bonus, the warming spices that give this brew its dessert-like backbone come from the local vendor Spice House. Overall, this lager proves full and creamy; drink too much at once and you might have a tummy ache like you’ve just overdone it with Halloween candy.
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. Pumpkin Hunter
5.1% ABV (Roseland, VA)
Ideally, you’ll want to enjoy this balanced brew while carving out a jack o'lantern. The beverage provides enough seasonal flavors to help get you in the spirit of Halloween or Thanksgiving, but it doesn't overpower the senses with artificial pumpkin pie notes. In fact, it's not pie like at all -- though the recipe doesn't eschew the classic warming spices that make one think of fall holidays and glutinous feasts. With a low ABV and a great flavor profile even at room temperature, it's great for sipping while simultaneously babysitting the kids and wielding a knife to gut squash seeds.
credits:"The Ale Apothecary"
The Pumpkin Aficionado
Four Noses Brewing Co. Pump Action
7.7% ABV (Broomfield, CO)
So you’re a pumpkin connoisseur, are you? You can't get enough of that orange squash whether it's folded into pasta, cooked in soup, baked into a dessert, or in this case, brewed in an addictive beer. Well, if it's the true flavor of pumpkin you're seeking, this Colorado venue has perfected the art of turning your favorite orange orb into a drinkable ale. Each barrel of this seasonal beer contains over 10 pounds of pumpkin, as well as some classic fall warming spices. But don't let that latter element dissuade you -- it's the squash that really shines through with each sip.
The Pumpkin Beer Hater
Seattle Cider Co. Pumpkin Spice Hard Cider
6.9% ABV (Seattle, WA)
Okay, alright -- we get it. You hate pumpkin beer. You really, really hate it. (We’re impressed that you’re still even reading this!) But might we entice you to try a lovely pumpkin hard cider? The Seattle Cider Co. has perfected the art of a dry, flavorful cider that showcases the Washington apples it uses. Yes, there's some real pumpkin flesh in there too, as well as a lovely blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. All of those ingredients act to give each can of the hard cider a warming quality not unlike a mug of mulled apple juice that you might find on a cool fall day at the farmers' market, but with a kick.
Note: Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Blue Point Brewing Co., and Elysian Brewing are all members of The High End, owned by Anheuser-Busch.