Fall Beers, or How I learned to Love the Pumpkin
Each year as the weather cools down and the leaves begin to change, the yearly battle of the gourds inevitably begins. Sadly, this skirmish doesn’t involve punkin’ chunkin’, but it does involve fans of beer near and far. Lovers of the fall-centric squash embrace it in everything from beer to coffee to shampoo while their sworn enemies think the only good pumpkin is one smashed in the street.
Wherever you fall on this squash scale, pumpkin beers are a sure sign that the seasons are changing, and shorter days and cooler nights are in our very near future. The use of pumpkins in beer is far from a recent occurrence, and its presence in beer recipes can be traced back to the early settlers of our United States.
While there’s far more pumpkin pie spice found in pumpkin beers today, there’s still a healthy dose of gourd in most of the better pumpkin beers around today, making them a unique drinking experience that’s typically only around for a few short months.
Whether you’re a lover of all things pumpkin or you’re new to the gourd game and you want to see what all the fuss is about, finding the right pumpkin beer can be tough to say the least. Yours truly has done the legwork and with the help of the fine folks at Vecenie Distributing, I’ve put together a list of must-try pumpkin beers to fill your fall with all things pumpkin. Check out the list below and don’t listen to the haters…pumpkin beers are not only craft beer, they’re a great way to celebrate and enjoy the changing of seasons before it gets too cold to think about it.
Long Trail Brewing – Harvest
New look, same tasty beer you expect from Long Trail. The end of summer is marked with the release this seasonal brown ale, also known as Harvest.
Vermont maple syrup added during the brewing process gives you a lasting sweetness on the palate that’ll warm you up alongside the rich, chocolate profile and earthy hop character of this classic American brown ale. 4.4% ABV
Ellicotville Brewing – Pumpkinville Latte
Ellicottville has long been a fall destination for leaf peepers and adventure seekers. Adding to the attractions and our best-kept secret is Pumpkinville. What a better way to share this hidden gem than with a beer! Brewed with locally sourced ingredients, including locally-harvested pumpkin, fresh-roasted coffee bean, and finished with seasonal spice & aroma. Big, bold & balanced flavor. 6.5% ABV
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Punkin’ Ale
A full-bodied brown ale with hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. Dogfish Head brews Punkin Ale with pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with. 7% ABV
Smuttynose Brewing Company – Pumpkin Ale
This beer is a homage to the craft and heritage of America’s brewers. Recipes calling for the use of pumpkins in beer date back to early colonial times, when brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients, such as squash and “pompions.” in that spirit, Smuttynose brews this ale with the addition of pumpkin to the mash, along with traditional spices to create a delicious American original. 6.35% ABV
Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Fall Hornin’
With a brilliant, deep copper hue and creamy beige-colored head, Anderson Valley’s Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale has aromas of caramelized malt and baking bread with highlights of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, and seasonal spices. The creamy mouthfeel and silky body balance the sweet caramel flavors and kick of spices with just hint of hops that ends with a smooth, round finish. 6% ABV
Erie Brewing Company – Johnny Rails Pumpkin
A blonde based ale gives this pumpkin beer a lighter, meltier flavor to start with. It is a fruit beer with delicious flavor, a great nose, and the perfect poise of pumpkin and spice. This flavorful brew is sure to get you in the fall spirit. 6.5% ABV
Lancaster Brewing Company – Baked Pumpkin
Have your pie and drink it too! Bold flavor with a deep amber color, our big Baked Pumpkin Ale is sure to remind you of Grandma’s homemade pumpkin pie. 7.3% ABV
North Country Brewing Company – Late Night Pumpkin
For the fall season, North Country brews their Late Night Pumpkin with a healthy dose of pumpkin, spice, and of course this is all done late at night, when the pumpkins taste their best. Coming in at 6.1% ABV with a gold color and a nice spiced character, Late Night Pumpkin is a canned beer you definitely need to try. 6.1% ABV
Buffalo Bill’s Brewery – Pumpkin
America’s Original Pumpkin Ale was first brewed in 1985. Made with real pumpkin, it has a golden amber color, and the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie. This brew is perfect for Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Pumpkin Ale is available from August through November. 6% ABV