Pumpkin beer, once brewed by our founding fathers because of shortages of barley and other brewing ingredients, has turned into a market of its own, with great variety I must say! You can find anything from a mild cider, shandy, or lager all the way to bourbon barrel aged imperial ales and even stouts and porters. They all vary greatly in actual pumpkin/squash/yam flavor, style of beer, spice level, and alcohol content so sometimes trying to pick out the perfect pumpkin beer can be overwhelming. You have beer that tastes like you are biting into a slice of pumpkin pie (such as Southern Tier Pumking) to beers with heavy allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon notes (like the Fordham spiced harvest ale). Me? I like notes of pumpkin or squash and some spice but it can’t be the only thing I taste. I mean, I am a BEER lover which means I still want pumpkin beer to taste like BEER, not pie. Great examples of what I’m referring to would be Uinta, Evolution, and Dogfish Head. I also will say that some different tastes in this category are very nice too; Terrapin has a cranberry pumpkinfest which has a cranberry tartness. Boulevard has a cool spiced sour called the Funky Pumpkin. The Bruery has an awesome yam and molasses beer that is definitely worth a try. I was even impressed by pumpkin ciders, which is surprising because I don’t seem to like a lot of ciders normally. If I did have to pick a favorite, it would probably be The Great’er Pumpkin by Heavy Seas. It has a great bourbon background note and still showcases all the “necessary” spices without taking over the flavor. Being around 10% ABV is reason enough to try it and definitely nice for those colder nights. In all, I would say the only way to really know which is going to be your favorite is to get out and try as many as possible before this short season of beer is over. Here at Hair O’ The Dog we make that easy for you as you can buy most of these beers individually, or for an even better deal, put together a mixed 6 pack of various pumpkin beers and see which you like best!
Oh, by the way, my name is Sean and I am the resident “Beer Guy” at Hair O’ The Dog, appropriately named the “HOPtical Solutionist”. I am a beer enthusiast, hop grower and home brewer with an appreciation for the art of brewing and always on the search for my new favorite beer. I’ve never been much of a blogger (this is actually the first I have ever written) but if people want to read what I have to say then that is A-OK in my book and I’ll try to keep the beer knowledge and experiences rolling. They say beer talks, so I try to listen. Now go drink beer and make sure to tell all your friends (and me!) when you find a beer that is worth trying.