October is here and everywhere around the country we are beginning to feel the effects of fall, so let’s have a little talk about pumpkin beers. If you are looking for a beer to evoke feelings of cool crisp fall air and the smell of pumpkin pies and winter spices, then these beers are going to be right up your alley. Lots of craft breweries have been falling in line with making this tasty fall seasonal and this year several breweries are even taking the imperial route and notching up the alcohol, spice and overall “pumpkinyness” of the beers, and while this by no means is an exhaustive list there are a few Pumpkin ales here that won’t disappoint.
Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin is a pumped up version of what you may have been used to when enjoying pumpkin ales of years past. When you first take a sip you are graced with everything you could want in a pumpkin ale, there is a slightly creamy mouth feel followed up with a barrage of pumpkin pie character that leaves you feeling like you just dove into one of the best pumpkin pies you ever had. You really can pick out the cinnamon, and nutmeg as well as the fleshy pumpkin character all without overwhelming your palate. The best thing about this beer is that it is not an overloaded spice bomb that leaves you feeling like you just had a spoonful of raw pumpkin pie spice mix, it does a great job at keeping everything in balance (although at an elevated level) and is very enjoyable to drink.
Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Uinta brewing company is another treat for this year. Uinta’s Crooked line of beers has its own marketing and has a lineup of big beers with big bold flavors including their all new pumpkin ale. Again this is an imperial pumpkin ale and as soon as you pop the cork on this 750ml beast you instantly can smell the pumpkin pie aroma wafting out of the bottle. The oak is very pronounced and lends a nice vanilla note to the beer and the oak character is very prominent but didn’t dominate the palate. There was enough malt backbone to place all the flavors in balance and included a nice finish of slightly sweet caramel and pumpkin pie that leaves you with a nice warm feeling inside, not to mention a slight warming sensation from the 10% abv.
Lastly a classic staple of mine for the fall season is Dogfish Head’s Punkin ale, which never disappoints for those pumpkin pie cravings. This offering from Dogfish Head really does a great job at keeping all of the flavors in balance. There is a nice pumpkin pie spice character in the aroma that welcomes you into the beer, while the taste of it has the same character there is also a nice cinnamon and nutmeg aftertaste that is very pleasant.
Seasonal beers are great and people wait every year for their favorites to hit the shelves again, so if you happen to see these or any other pumpkin beers on the shelves on your favorite beer store or watering hole I’m sure you will add these to the list of beers to get year after year.