Love it or hate it, the time for pumpkin-flavored everything is here. From Starbuck’s signature Pumpkin Spice Latte to the Pumpkin Spice Oreo cookie, the seasonal gourd can be found on store shelves and restaurant menus from coast to coast. Never an industry to be left out of a trend, America’s craft brewers have embraced pumpkin in a big way over the last few years. It seems that just about every craft brewery these days has their own iteration of this autumnal tipple.
Not all pumpkin beers are created equal, however. Some embrace the pumpkin spice a little too much and end up tasting like a candle while others, well, they should just be left alone. To help you in your quest for the best, here are the best pumpkin beers we’re looking forward to drinking this fall.
As soon as there’s the faintest whiff of fall in the air, it’s time to grab a Pumking imperial ale. Simply put, this beer is pumpkin pie in a glass. You get the fleshy fruit, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and even whipped cream and graham cracker flavors, all melded into one excellent drinking experience. For amateur beer cocktail artists, mix this one fifty-fifty with Southern Tier’s other pumpkin seasonal, Warlock imperial stout.
A breakout hit in 2017, Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin is back for a repeat performance. This beer stands out from the pack thanks to its use of Saigon cinnamon and Habanero, Aji, and Del Arbol peppers. It’s just the right amount of heat to stand up to the hefty malt bill, but not so much to be overpowering.
Far less sweet than the other pie-modeled ales out there, Fall Hornin’ still includes autumn-inspired spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, but lets the pumpkin shine through. It’s a creamy, easy-drinking beer for those that want just a taste of holiday spirit.
This American Wild Ale by Maine’s masters of sour farmhouse beers is hard to come by, but oh, so worth the effort if you’re able to track it down. It’s brewed with pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds, and molasses, and then aged in oak barrels. It’s sour and funky, yes, but it also has sweeter flavors inspired by the pumpkin and molasses with a nice hit of vanilla from the barrel. Want to know what fall in Maine tastes like? Drink this beer.
This Georgia brewery created a robust American porter with pumpkins and named it after the influential punk band from Wisconsin. The unexpected synergy has forged one of the best dark pumpkin ales on the market. A chocolate cake-like base backs up the more expected notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and (of course) pumpkin. Now available in cans, it’s easier than ever to enjoy.
A delicious pumpkin ale from craft veterans Dogfish Head, Punkin is smooth and creamy with a dollop of sweetness from a brown sugar addition. The spicing and sugars do allow some hops to come through, as well as the slightest tinge of alcohol burn. It’s a classic for a reason. As you can see above, Punkin also makes a great cooking ingredient for fall-inspired dishes.