’tis the season (for pumpkin beers)

A Guide To-pumpkin beers

(image by: sarah postma)

Ah yes, now that fall is in full swing, pumpkin spice madness is upon us. Like clockwork, all things pumpkin are rolled up and like the suckers that we are, we fall for it–hook, line, and sinker.

Again, I fully admit my love of pumpkin goodness every year. Although I draw the line at pumpkin spice candles; I hate that sugary sweet smell. I also don’t really enjoy PSLs, essentially for the same reason as pumpkin spice candles. Way too sickeningly sweet. But pumpkin spice itself–the mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg–is great and when used correctly, damn tasty. One thing that I’ve also come to really enjoy? Pumpkin beers. Some of my favorite breweries put out some pretty decent ones and I’ve discovered some new gems this year, so I figured I’d put together a comprehensive list of what I’ve tried so far this fall:

O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer
Don’t let the crudely drawn label fool you; this is one of the best pumpkin beers out there, hands down. O’Fallon has managed to find a great balance–you can definitely taste the pumpkin spice used, but their beer isn’t overly sweet. It’s my go-to every year.

Southern Tier Pumking
Pumking is definitely for those who like their pumpkin beers on the sweeter side. I don’t think dessert beers are a thing, but it’s great with a sweet fall treat like s’mores. For a version that packs waaay more of a punch, try Southern Tier’s Warlock, their counterpoint to Pumking.

Big Muddy Brewing Pumpkin Smasher
I just had this one for the first time this month and I’m a big fan. It helps that Big Muddy uses real pumpkins in addition to pumpkin pie spices. You can definitely taste the difference.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
I was pretty impressed with Dogfish Head’s take on a pumpkin beer (their stuff is usually hit or miss for me). Surprisingly strong for its kind of brew (at 7%), it’s a really nice brown ale.

Spiteful Jackass O’Lantern
Gotta show some love for a local brewery as well. I love almost everything Spiteful puts out and their pumpkin beer is no different. It’s in the same vein as Dogfish Head: a nice brown ale with caramel and malt flavors in addition to the pumpkin spice goodness.

Lakefront Brewing Imperial Pumpkin
I’ve seen a lot more imperial pumpkins out this year (including O’Fallon’s Imperial Pumpkin) but Lakefront’s is really great. At 9.5%, it’s pretty strong but oh so delicious. I also had their Pumpkin Lager this past weekend and definitely enjoyed it as well.

And those are my favorite ones so far! This is definitely just the tip of the iceberg this season. It seems like more and more breweries are rolling out pumpkin beers in addition to their other seasonals and I’m pretty much making it my mission to try them all. There are definitely a few on my list that I have yet to try. Do you have any recommendations?

Also, if you’re on Untapped, add me! I love checking out what craft beers other folks are drinking.

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