I love this time of year! I love the changing of the leaves, the crispness in the air, and the smell of burning fire places. But, the biggest reason I love this time of year is the release of all the pumpkin beers. In fact, I would have to say, a good pumpkin ale is probably my favorite beer on the planet! And over the last 5 years, brewers have jumped on the pumpkin wagon and crafted some of the tastiest brews around.
Now, there are dozens of breweries that brew pumpkin beer, but I’m just going to hit on my top picks. Trust me, once you try one you may not be able to put it down!
#5 Punk’n – Four + Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, UT)
About 3 weeks ago I spotted this gem at our local Tacoma Boys Farmer’s Market in Tacoma, WA. And I was glad I did! It really surprised me how subtle and smooth this beer was. A little on the toasty side with just a hint of nutmeg and vanilla. This beer was very easy to drink and I think would go great with Thanksgiving dinner…or dessert!
#4 Pumpkinhead Ale – Shipyard Brewing Co (Portland, ME)
Talk about Autumn spice! Not only is the logo on the bottle really cool, this beer really packs a punch when it comes to flavor. The spiciest beer out of my top 5 picks, Shipyard did not hold back when adding the cinnamon and nutmeg to this little beauty. Definitely not a beer to be taken lightly, it is slowly becoming one of my favorites. The spiciness of the first sip may throw you off, but keep going! You won’t be sorry!!
#3 Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale – Blue Moon Brewing Co (Golden, CO)
Now I know Coors actually owns Blue Moon Brewing Company, but I have to admit, this is a great beer. Harvest Moon’s light pumpkin flavor and soft nutmeg essence makes this beer an absolute delight. It’s very easy to drink with food but much more enjoyable on its own. While I’m a fan of Blue Moon’s popular Belgian White ale, this seasonal brew is my favorite from brewery.
#2 Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Co. (Seattle, WA)
I discovered this gorgeous beer after moving to Washington State. I had a hard time determining if Night Owl Pumpkin Ale should be in my #1 spot because it’s just that good! Once you crack open the bottle you are immediately hit with the wonderful aroma of pumpkin pie. Elysian adds nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and ginger during the fermentation process. Both raw and roasted pumpkin seeds are added into the mash along with raw pumpkin. Night Owl Pumpkin ale is probably one of my favorite all around beers…period.
#1 America’s Original Pumpkin Ale – Buffalo Bill’s Brewing Co. (Hayward, CA)
Talk about pumpkin pie in a bottle! Brewed with baked and roasted pumpkin, Buffalo Bill’s then adds cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon creating what I consider to be absolute perfection! While you can drink this ale with a meal, I wouldn’t recommend it for the simple fact you would lose all of that wonderful spicy, pumpkin flavor and aroma. Best to drink this baby all by itself. I look forward every year to the release of this beer and stock up on it as soon as it’s available. I’m telling you, grandma’s pumpkin pie has some stiff competition!
Now I know the thought of pumpkin in beer sounds kind of wacky to a lot of beer purists, but stick with me on this… once you sip a good pumpkin ale you won’t be sorry.