Pumpkin beer is here; enjoy it while pumpkins are in season. While you’re at it, give a little private toast to the colonists who founded this country and drank beer like the very one you have in your hand. They didn’t see anything wrong with adding gourd to their glass, and neither should you. Get tasting. Cheers!
Salt Lake City, UT
It turns out that stout is also a strong base for adding pumpkin and spice. This nearly opaque black ale has a formidable aroma of well-integrated fall spices (chocolate, cocoa, brown sugar, and a bit of char). The pumpkin makes itself known but doesn’t dominate or overwhelm the base beer underneath.
Punkuccino is where pumpkin beer starts to go in strange and delicious directions. This fantastic beer from Elysian is the star of its annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, and with good reason. The brewery makes a host of pumpkin beers, but this might be the best. It tastes like you died and went to heaven and they presented you with a Pumpkin Spice Latte when you got there. @therealpsl (therealpumpkinspicelatte), that one’s for you.
SCHLAFLY PUMPKIN ALE
Saint Louis, MO
As straight to the point as its name, Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale tastes like what a pumpkin ale should taste like, and more. This version is a well-balanced classic, with moderately strong spice character balanced with light caramel malt sugar and a slight toasty note. You can’t miss with this fall beer, and the 8% ABV might leave you feeling toasty yourself.
PUMPKIN LAGER & BARREL-AGED ALE
Lakefront gets props for executing two entirely different styles of pumpkin beer extremely well. The Pumpkin Lager begins with a clean lager accentuated with a kiss of spice that doesn’t overwhelm the base beer (think warm and inviting). Then there’s the high-alcohol Brandy Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale, which is aged in brandy barrels. Sip that one in front of a bonfire on a chilly night.
Technically not a pumpkin beer (Autumn Maple is brewed with yams and maple syrup), but we’re okay with that. This beer is just as awesome. It has a lovely spice character balanced by the residual sweetness from the maple syrup. A Belgian yeast strain gives this 10% whopper Belgian dark strong ale overtones. This is the beer to drink during Thanksgiving dinner.
DIY GOURD KEG
Want to do something awesome, like drink your pumpkin beer out of a giant pumpkin? Yeah, you do. (While fermenting your beer in a pumpkin is a possibility, please don’t. The beer will get infected, slimy, and gross.) Follow this step-by-step.
1. FERMENT your pumpkin beer, as usual, in stainless steel or plastic and keg or bottle it. (Option #2: Buy pumpkin beer.)
2. GET the biggest pumpkin you can possibly find. Make sure it has sturdy walls that give a solid THUMP when you knock them. Cut open the top of the pumpkin, jack-o’-lantern style. Scoop out the guts as thoroughly as you can.
3. PAINT/DECORATE the outside of the pumpkin so it looks awesome. Pick a point 2 inches from the base where you can drill a medium-size hole. Purchase a plastic beverage spigot and secure it in the hole you drilled.
4. PLACE the pumpkin on a cookie sheet or tray, as it will leak. Invite people over for a balls-to-the-wall Halloween party. Open up the top of the pumpkin, fill it to the brim with beer, dispense, and enjoy!
Still thirsty? Check out more recommendations in our Beer section.