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favorite Pumpkin beer

Diego Sanchez Aug 25, 2009 09:32 AM

With Autumn fast approaching I was just wondering what everyone's favorite pumpkin beer is. This is not one of my favorite styles but a unique American style nontheless. I'm looking for suggestions as well. Thanks.

I like Southern TIer Pumking

  1. Asumnuthin Aug 25, 2009 11:34 AM

    Dogfish Head Punkin Ale or Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale are my top two favorites usually

    Im not a big fan of Post Road, I dont get alot of pumpkin flavor or spice.

    Ive never tried Southern Tier's Imperial Pumpking, i will have to find some of that for the upcoming season.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Asumnuthin
      rworange Sep 27, 2009 03:11 PM

      Have you tried the 2009 Dogfish? I came to the beer board just to complain.

      The head almost evaprates instantly. There's a nice brown sugar pumpkin aroma ... they use real pumpkin in it. But the hoppy bitternes and almost cloying sugar sweetness are awful. There's a metallic finish to it. And the saddest thing is that though it smells of pumpkin, there's no pumpkin flavor.

      1. re: rworange
        shellshock24 Oct 6, 2009 08:49 AM

        I totally agree. The 2009 Punkin doesn't have pumpkin flavor at all. The metallic taste is really similar to the 2009 Aprihop metallic taste. I'm not sure what happen in 2009, but those 2 beers were huge disappointments.

        1. re: shellshock24
          BEERLOVER69 Oct 13, 2009 03:55 PM

          Has anyone tried Belfast Bay McGovern's Oatmeal Stout and if so where can i buy it in MA?

        2. re: rworange
          pie22 Dec 17, 2009 06:33 AM

          agreed this years bottled punkin ale isn't what it was in the past - i also must say that i had it a few times this year in a bar and it was completely different (tasty, good, worth drinking) then what i received in the case i purchased - also at almost $50 for the case (PA) i was a little taken back!

      2. j
        juantanamera Aug 25, 2009 05:42 PM

        ST Pumpking is my favorite as well, with the exception of the 2007 Alpine Ichabod pumpkin beer, a one time release that was soured and aged in red wine barrels. That was most likely the best pumpkin beer ever.

        4 Replies
        1. re: juantanamera
          DougOLis Aug 25, 2009 10:54 PM

          '07 Ichabod was amazing. Wish I still had a few bottles around. Do you know what style they're doing this year? I thought they may have said sour again but that may have been for something else.

          1. re: DougOLis
            Shaggy Aug 26, 2009 10:11 AM

            Southern Tier is also my favorite. I find Dogfish head to taste more like a pumpkin, and less like pumpkin pie, which is what I'm after.
            For a suggestion, the Old Post Road is really good.

          2. re: juantanamera
            Diego Sanchez Aug 27, 2009 12:50 PM

            Wow..I definitely need to get my hands on the 2007 Ichabod. I wonder what base beer they are using this season? I checked the website but it didn't say.

            1. re: Diego Sanchez
              juantanamera Aug 28, 2009 02:03 AM

              Doug and Diego,
              Sorry I can't shed any light on this year's Ichabod. Last time I was there I was so excited about Nelson (one of my all time favorites) that I didn't think to ask about Ichabod. I can only hope for a sour, as I like their track record. I thought Che Monieax was very good, and Briscoe and '07 Ichabod excellent.

          3. Asumnuthin Aug 27, 2009 06:09 AM

            Two I tried last night from Ginger Man in NYC in the 4 beer flight,
            P.S. I preferred the weyerbacher, way more pumpkin on the nose and palate

            Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
            Brewed with 150 lbs. of pumpkin in each batch. Made with Pale, Munich and Crystal malts green and roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin in the mash, boil and fermenter. Bittered with Horizon hops. Spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger.

            Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
            Commercial Description: Brewed with Pumpkin and Spices(Cinnamon,Nutmeg,Cardamom,Cloves). This 8.0% ABV pumpkin ale is heartier, spicier, and more caramelly and pumpkiny than its faint brethren! Perfect finisher on a cool autumn night.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Asumnuthin
              LStaff Aug 27, 2009 06:27 AM

              The Elysian Pumpkin is usually my favorite since it is based on a pale ale recipe with nice level of hop flavor and bitterness that plays well with the spices.

              But last year, New Belgium was brewing this for the shipments that made it to my local bar and it was a big disapointment as it didn't have the hop character that is normally did and contained a wee bit of diacetyl that was distracting to me. Hopefully, it comes back to its former glory this year.

              1. re: LStaff
                brentk Oct 25, 2009 12:11 PM

                I'm drinking the 2009 Elysian Night Owl and would agree that it's the best out there. Brewed with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and fermented with pie spices, it strikes just the right balance.

                The alcohol level is not overwhelming (5.9%), the malt has a nice pumpkin flavor and the spicing is very subtle.

                Too bad this beer is not more widely available, as it blows away some of the bigger names.

            2. j
              jeanmarieok Aug 27, 2009 01:11 PM

              My answer is NONE - pumpkin is for pie, NOT beer!!!

              I've tried Dogfish, and don't get why anyone would put pumpkin in beer. It's not like a raspberry lambic, where you just get the essence. Pumpkin beer is all about the pumpkin.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jeanmarieok
                Shaggy Aug 27, 2009 02:12 PM

                Raspberry lambics are way more sweet and syrupy than any pumpkin beer. That said, they are still good when that's what you are in the mood for.

                1. re: Shaggy
                  amtriska Nov 30, 2009 01:59 PM

                  I agree -- pumpkin is definitely one of the less cloying beer flavors out there. For some reason, it seems to go better with the flavor of beer than most fruits -- rich and spicy rather than sweet and obnoxious. I like the Post Road stuff myself.

                  I'm drinking Long Trail Blackberry Wheat ale right now. It's pretty okay. The blackberry flavor is almost what you'd get in a Blow Pop, but for some reason it's excellent when you're thirsty.

              2. Chinon00 Aug 28, 2009 04:35 AM

                I didn't like ST Pumking. I found it to be like liquid oatmeal cookies and vanilla wafers with some orange. Some may like that but I didn't. I found DFH's version to be quite restrained (oddly enough) and nearly perfectly balance. Finally I want more pumpkin taste versus a ginger snap taste in my pumpkin beers. Too many are all about the spice I think.


                9 Replies
                1. re: Chinon00
                  Insidious Rex Aug 28, 2009 10:35 AM

                  Thats because pumpkin doesnt have much of a taste to it once youve broken it down into a mush and boiled it to death. It becomes at best butternut squash light. Thats why most "pumpkin" beers are actually pumpkin PIE beers really. Because its the spices and flavors that we associate with pumpkins that dominate rather than the actual pumpkin. Which is why Ive never understood this pumpkin beer phenomenon too much. Frankly I think we should call these things "fall" beers because its more about the season to me than the vegetable ingredient. Like we do with Winter Warmers. Ive tried dozens of different pumpkin beers and never really been impressed with any. Pumpkin seems arbitrary to me. Why not make a broccoli beer or a zucchini beer? Why just pumpkin? Just because it sells well around Halloween?

                  1. re: Insidious Rex
                    Asumnuthin Aug 28, 2009 11:23 AM

                    Because its delicious!

                    1. re: Asumnuthin
                      Insidious Rex Aug 28, 2009 12:02 PM

                      Hmm... Well I propose we make a sweet potato beer then too with - lets see - cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, allspice, maybe a little vanilla and... oh wait... ;D

                      1. re: Insidious Rex
                        JessKidden Aug 28, 2009 01:19 PM

                        I got in some arguments over on BA when I challenged the common beer geek wisdom that "pumpkin beer" is some sort of long-lived traditional US beer style. (Did early colonist use pumpkin as an adjunct? Yeah, and they happily abandoned it as soon as barley malt became more readily available). The discussion brought up the memory that the creator of the modern "pumpkin (pie spiced) ale", "Buffalo" Bill Owens, actually didn't use ANY pumpkin, only the spice mix, after that initial experimental batch.

                        --page about half way down to "The True Story of the first Pumpkin Beer"

                        1. re: JessKidden
                          Chinon00 Aug 28, 2009 04:10 PM

                          Hop bomb, malt bomb, spice bomb, whatever bomb I don't like. I want balance. And to me the desire of any "bomb" is the sign of a growing but underdeveloped palate.


                          1. re: Chinon00
                            LStaff Sep 22, 2009 01:02 PM

                            >And to me the desire of any "bomb" is the sign of a growing but underdeveloped palate.

                            So I take it you are looking for a "balance bomb". ;-)

                            I totally disagree that a "desire for any "bomb"" as you describe it, is a sign of an underdeveloped palate, I know plenty of long time beer geeks - myself included - that have a great appreciation for many styles of beer, can differentiate between a well made beer and one that just packs in the most flavor possible, but PREFER a hop bomb over other styles.

                            1. re: LStaff
                              Chinon00 Oct 3, 2009 06:42 AM

                              I meant a strong bias toward big beer and against smaller ones. I drink "big beers" and enjoy them. But it doesn't makeup the bulk of my beer consumption.

                        2. re: Insidious Rex
                          DougOLis Aug 28, 2009 05:12 PM

                          The Bruery does make a sweet potato beer called Autumn Maple.

                      2. re: Insidious Rex
                        rworange Sep 27, 2009 03:06 PM

                        I like the idea of pumpkin beer, but I only ever had one that was the beer I have been dreaming of where pumpkin and beer had a happy marriage and the flavor was autumn in a glass. It was a draft beer and the company prompty went out of business. Sob.

                    2. w
                      writergeek313 Aug 29, 2009 10:49 AM

                      I don't recommend Saranac's pumpkin beer. As with every other Saranac beer I've tried, I found it to be very underwhelming. I'm not a huge fan of fruit beers, but considering every Southern Tier imperial series beer I've had has been top-notch, I have a feeling sticking with the Pumpking would be a good bet.

                      1. n
                        nemis Sep 18, 2009 07:30 AM

                        O'fallon's from MO or Big Boss from the triangle area in North carolina

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nemis
                          Bobfrmia Oct 2, 2009 08:20 PM

                          Just had an O'fallons. Never had a pumpkin beer before, and was interested. While not an appealing style to me, I was a little surprised. Not sweet. Very nice amber ale flavor with a hint of pumpkin and spices. I would probably be able to drink a couple before running back to my IPA's.

                        2. a
                          afty698 Sep 21, 2009 08:34 PM

                          Smuttynose and Cambridge Brewing Company do the two best pumpkin beers I've had. I like them better than Dogfish Head, Post Road, Southern Tier, etc. Shipyard Pumpkinhead is especially foul; avoid it at all costs.

                          1. s
                            Solstice444 Sep 23, 2009 03:21 AM

                            My favorite is the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. I also like Dogfish Head's Punkin. I'm not really a fan of the Shipyard Pumpkinhead, but I did just visit their brewery a couple of days ago and got to taste their Smashed Pumpkin, which is a different beer with higher alcohol content. It comes in a large bottle. I liked that much better, but I'm assuming it is much less readily available.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Solstice444
                              abu applesauce Oct 2, 2009 08:38 AM

                              I've been enjoying the Smuttynose as well, but one at a time. By the second pumpkin beer, I ask myself why the hell I'm drinking pumkin beer...

                              1. re: abu applesauce
                                noreservations Oct 25, 2009 08:21 AM

                                Hilarious! Right there with ya on this one. One at a time is "not normally"(i.e. never)my M.O......If only they lessened the spice even just a bit it would make this already enjoyable brew markedly better.

                              2. re: Solstice444
                                maggiej Oct 2, 2009 10:23 AM

                                Has anyone seen the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale in NYC? When I went yesterday, neither New Beer Distributors nor Whole Foods Bowery had it...

                                1. re: maggiej
                                  abu applesauce Oct 2, 2009 11:27 AM

                                  My beer guy in Glen Cove has a nice selection and he didn't have it two weeks ago. I'll be back this weekend though.

                                  1. re: abu applesauce
                                    abu applesauce Oct 5, 2009 10:13 AM

                                    Couldn't find it, but I did find Smuttynose

                              3. m
                                maggiej Oct 2, 2009 12:19 PM

                                and another question. What do you like to eat with pumpkin beer? Is there a perfect food pairing?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: maggiej
                                  rworange Oct 2, 2009 11:41 PM

                                  At a restaurant, sweet potatoe fries.

                                  At home, a local sausage maker makes a nice pumpkin sausage ... I go a little pumpkin crazy this time of year. However, pumpkin beer goes well with most sausages.

                                  1. re: rworange
                                    HillJ Oct 4, 2009 01:22 PM

                                    We had garlic & mushroom chicken sausage, roasted peppers, twice baked sweet potatoes, grilled spanish onions and pumpkin beer rimmed with lemongrass powder for dinner friday night.

                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      abu applesauce Oct 5, 2009 10:14 AM

                                      Acorn squash/beef stew.

                                    2. re: rworange
                                      amtriska Nov 30, 2009 02:10 PM

                                      Ohohohoho sweet potato fries. Yes yes yes yes yes.That might just be the pairing of the year. Ahem. Sorry, I get carried away when it comes to sweet potato fries. The spicier pumpkin beers do tend to go well with snack food and sugary stuff, which makes them great for parties.

                                  2. cannedmilkandfruitypebbles Oct 13, 2009 10:09 AM

                                    I've been trying lots lately: Pumpking, Dogfish, Smuttynose, Post Road, Woalavers organic, but my favorite came from a brewery in Utah, I think. The brew is called Pun'kin I've only ever seen it in the little liquor store by my hous but it's really good stuff. it's in a short and stout little bottle, like Sierra, and the label says nothign more than Pun'kin' or something like that......Fishermans Pumpkin Stout is pretty great too.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                                      HillJ Oct 13, 2009 10:11 AM

                                      Give Jack's pumpkin beer a go cannedmilkand..! The seasonal "taste testing" is alot of fun!

                                      1. re: HillJ
                                        cannedmilkandfruitypebbles Oct 13, 2009 02:08 PM

                                        I've actually avoided that on purpose.

                                        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                                          HillJ Oct 13, 2009 05:16 PM

                                          Avoided Jack's brand of pumpkin beer or the whole taste test thing?

                                      2. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                                        Solstice444 Oct 17, 2009 02:54 PM

                                        I had the Wolaver's from the cask while I was actually at Wolaver's/Otter Creek about a month ago. It was so much better from the cask than on tap/bottle. The cool thing about that brew is that they get the pumpkins from a guy who grows them only about 15 miles away from their brewery.

                                        I've been meaning to try the Fishermans Pumpkin Stout, that's next on my list! My fridge is so full of beer at this time of year.

                                        1. re: Solstice444
                                          joypirate Oct 19, 2009 07:50 AM

                                          I think the Wolaver's is my favorite this season by far.

                                          Agreed with the other re: Dogfish Punkin. It's sort of frustratingly inconsistent. Amazing one year, mediocre the next.


                                          I'd also add that I count myself among those who like a good balance of pumpkin to pumpkin spice taste.

                                      3. JessKidden Oct 17, 2009 03:45 PM

                                        Well, to paraphrase a popular beer comment:

                                        "My favorite pumpkin beer is the one in *your* hand."

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JessKidden
                                          The Professor Oct 18, 2009 08:46 PM

                                          Right on.
                                          My favorites are the ones without pumpkin.

                                        2. Asumnuthin Oct 19, 2009 05:30 AM

                                          I a delicious version at Boston Beer Works this weekend, Pumpkinhead Ale,
                                          I think it is only available there though on draft.

                                          1. noradeirdre Oct 28, 2009 09:46 AM

                                            I think my favorite pumpkin ale is the Cambridge Brewing Company's "Great Pumpkin Ale." Also, the Cape Ann Brewing Company out of Gloucester, MA does a nice pumpkin stout, though I don't know that it has any specific pumpkin flavor, it adds a nice sweetness and depth of taste to the stout. But generally, I stay away from Pumpkin Ale. I did have a "Biere de Gourde" last night at the CBC, but that's because I love farmhouse ales. It was OK.

                                            1. h
                                              HillJ Oct 28, 2009 12:53 PM

                                              Pumpkin Pie Mead is the way to go!

                                              1. c
                                                c.cow Nov 28, 2009 06:56 PM

                                                Possible that these suggestions are limited to Ontario availability, but 2 great recommendations:

                                                1) Great Lakes Brewing makes a great pumpkin ale, I think it has won a few prizes. The pumpkin flavour is not too strong, and personally I like something spicier, but it avoids the sweetness you risk with a beer that overemphasizes pumpkin. I think this one can be found in some specialty beer stores in the US.

                                                2) Mill Street brewery in Toronto - sadly, theirs is only available at their brewpub - makes a really wonderful, perfectly spiced (IMO) pumpkin beer. They featured it in a brewmaster's dinner this year, paired with a delicious butternut squash soup. I recommend the gourd&gourd pairing - delish! Would like to try it with zucchini soup.

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