What’s Brewing? 5 pumpkin beers to try this Halloween
Seasonal beer drinking is a big part of the craft beer scene.
Each year I’ll find myself in a conversation about who’s drinking pumpkin beers and who isn’t. We’ll talk about when we start drinking them and when will we stop so it stays special each year. Just like birds that fly south, many India Pale Ale drinkers will migrate to malt forward beers for the winter. October weather and the annual introduction of pumpkin beer seems to be the perfect time for this transition. The days are getting shorter while the air is getting colder. We’re bringing out the flannels as the leaves fall off the trees. A bourbon barrel aged pumpkin beer with a loved one around a campfire can certainly keep you warm on a brisk night.
There’s something heartwarming about the spices found in pumpkin pie. Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and clove are the same spices used in pumpkin beer. Pumpkin, as prominent as it is this time each year, adds little taste to the end product in beer. In fact, some brewers will even roast the pumpkins prior to fermentation in order to extract flavor.
On a personal note, I am disappointed to see some breweries putting out pumpkin beer in July. I understand they’re selling large quantities of Halloween beer for distribution, but it simply waters the whole thing down. Why do they have to make so much? Aren’t they interested in preserving this fun-ness so it lasts for years to come?
Once upon a time, we use to look forward to the day after Thanksgiving. The one single day that kicked off the beginning of the holiday season. Now retailers are displaying Christmas trees alongside Halloween costumes. As long as we keep buying it earlier, they keep putting it out earlier. Soon we’ll be eating birthday cake 365 days a year and drinking hot chocolate by the pool.
Here’s to drinking pumpkin beer for another week or two, but that’s it!
Voodoo Brewing Co. (Pittsburgh)
Caution! Contains Real Pumpkin!!!!
Barleywine (11.3% ABV). Brewed with and aged on 200 pounds of real pumpkin, Madagascar vanilla beans and cinnamon in bourbon barrels. Pumpkin is front and center with notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon rounding out the back side.
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. (Easton, Pa.)
Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Imperial Pumpkin Ale (8% ABV). A bold, hearty, spicy and “caramelly” brew. Lots of pumpkins added to this one along with cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cardamom and clove. This beer has a spicy, full-bodied flavor.
Evil Genius Beer Co. (Philadelphia)
Trick Or Treat
Porter (7.8% ABV). This robust Porter is a seasonal delight that is sure to help warm you up by the campfire on a cold night. Brewed with chocolate and spiced with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
Southern Tier Brewing Co. (Lakewood, N.Y.)
Imperial Stout (8.6% ABV). Brewed with pumpkins. Very dark with a huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation, and spicy pumpkin pie aroma.
Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Fla.)
Imperial Pumpkin Ale (8.5% ABV). Bursting with real pumpkin flavor and yummy pumpkin spices including Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican all-spice, Zanzibar cloves and nutmeg, Good Gourd is a celebration of Fall and that spookiest of holidays, Halloween. Pair Good Gourd with pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and costume parties.