The arrival of October means one thing, and one thing only. Pumpkin season is upon us.
Bring on the pumpkin-flavored lattes, teas, cookies, and cakes. While our friends in the Pacific Northwest
are facing more dramatic temperature changes, Californians
need to find alternative ways to embrace the passing of the seasons. And with football season in full swing, there is no better addition to your Sunday routine than pumpkin beer.
Lucky for you we taste-tested the wide variety of options available and made your seasonal selection an easy one.
Punkin Ale by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
ABV: 7.0% IBU: 28
Pairs well with: Baked Apple Dumplings
If you’re looking for a pumpkin beer you can drink a lot of, this is your pick. Light with just a hint of pumpkin spice, Punkin Ale has a bright, crisp finish. Named for the Punkin Chunkin extravaganza hosted by the state of Delaware every autumn (where pumpkins are hurled 4,000 feet through the air to their doom), this is not a beer you’ll want to get rid of.
Imperial Pumpkin Porter by Alaskan Pilot Series
ABV: 8.4% IBU: 26
Pairs well with: Apple pie a la mode
Speaking of beers you want to get rid of … let’s just say this beer is best consumed once and probably never again. Over 11 pounds of pumpkin are added to every barrel and boy, can you taste it. There is a heavy undercurrent of smoke on each sip, chased with holiday spice and brown sugar. If you like a heavy beer with a bitter aftertaste, this one might be for you.
Punkuccino by Elysian Brewing
Pairs well with: Coffeecake
This beer is a perfect combination of coffee and pumpkin if the name and the label didn’t give that away. Featuring Portland’s beloved Stumptown coffee in every sip, your first taste is a bit like walking into a coffee shop. Sweet, spicy, and with some kick – this beer is an excellent addition to sitting around the fire.
Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin by New Belgium
ABV: 6.4% IBU: 10
Pairs well with: Chips and queso
This one was a favorite. Not your typical pumpkin beer, this ale drops the pumpkin spice and instead features cinnamon and habanero chili peppers for just the right amount of heat. It starts sweet but ends spicy.Smashed Pumpkin by Shipyard
ABV: 9.0% IBU: 18
Pairs well with: A hearty chili
If you’re the type of person to pick your evening libation based on the branding alone, this one will jump off the shelf at you. Luckily, the taste stands up to the look. A big-bodied beer featuring a heavy dose of pumpkin and nutmeg, this ale is lovely. It does pack some serious kick in terms of alcohol volume, so make sure you have snacks on hand.
Pumpkin Ale by Schlafly
ABV: 8.0% IBU: 16
Pairs well with: Caramel apples
Of all the beers we tasted, this one was the sweetest. Like biting into a slice of pumpkin pie, this pumpkin ale is light and airy with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The whipped cream topping is optional.
The final verdict: You can’t go wrong with pumpkin beer in October. Every beer we tried was like taking a stroll through a pumpkin patch. We encourage you to grab some friends, find a cozy spot in one of our Neighbor Clubhouses and break out the brews for your own taste test – pumpkin pie required.