Caroline Hetzel

 

Pumpkin flavor rules. The taste of the big orange gourd invokes cool Halloween nights, colorful leaves, and Thanksgiving tables filled with familiar faces. Warm up those insides with fuzzy feelings and one of these spiced pumpkin ales, brewed on Western soil.

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Uinta Brewing Company, Crooked Line (Salt Lake City, UT)

Aging Oak Jacked in barrels sets this ale among the best in the pumpkin genre. I really tasted the oaky notes, which complemented the pumpkin spice well. This imperial ale has a great mouth feel with its 10.31% ABV. Uinta also releases Punk’n Harvest, a more traditional pumpkin ale, during the fall.

Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine by Almanac Beer Co. (San Francisco, CA)

1,000 pounds of organic heirloom pumpkins. That’s what Almanac uses to make Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine, part of the Farm to Barrel series. This is one of my favorites, given how well you can taste the spiced flavor with every sip. At 12% ABV, Heirloom Pumpkin goes strong. Stock up on some bottles, because this one ages well.

Dark Pumpkin Sour by Almanac Beer Co. (San Francisco, CA)

Another Almanac Farm to Barrel brew, this sour ale tops the most fascinating sip of the list with subtle pumpkin taste. If you’ve never tasted a sour, be ready to pucker up for Dark Pumpkin at 7% ABV. Complex, acidic, and rich best describe this dark ale.

Autumn Maple by The Bruery (Placentia, CA)

Okay, so Autumn Maple isn’t actually a pumpkin beer, but it tastes similar enough. Yams and spices give this brew the same essence of fall flavor. Though it’s not gourd-related, it’s still one of the best autumn ales I’ve encountered. Bring this brew to Thanksgiving dinner because it’s packed with nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, maple syrup, 17 pounds of yams, and a 10% ABV.

Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale by Rogue Ales (Newport, OR)

You can’t miss this one on the shelves in its bright orange bottle. Rogue brews its Pumpkin Patch Ale using their own hops, barley, and pumpkins, part of their Grow Your Own project. The Independence, Oregon, Dream Pumpkins, as Rogue calls them, blend well with ginger, cloves, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and nutmeg for an all-around classic pumpkin ale.

Still on my list to try:

What pumpkin beers have you tried and liked? I'm open to suggestions!

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