As we are now into the Fall season, I thought it would be timely to bring up one of the popular seasonal beers found in your favorite store or restaurant, pumpkin beer. While I was in grad school, one of my assignments was to write a two-page paper on something that people were discussing either in the news or around my area. Given that I wrote a few papers on craft beer during my tenure in grad school, I decided to do a sampling of many different pumpkin beers and write about my findings. Five years later, I still purchase pumpkin beers (either new or favorites) and would like to share my Top 10 list of pumpkin beers which can be found retail or in a brewery. Please note that the following are beers that I’ve personally consumed and not the opinion of others:
- Dogfish Head Punkin
- Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
- Southern Tier Pumking
- Elysian Punkuccino
- Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
- Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin
- Neshaminy Creek Punkless Dunkel
- Southern Tier Rum Barrel Aged Pumking
- Death of The Fox Scrumptious Pumpkous (Brewery only)
- Spellbound Pumpkin Ale
A few notes regarding my list, the first of which is that I felt Punkuccino is the best out of the four pumpkin beers that Elysian produces and is usually the first one to sell out. Scrumption Pumpkous was sampled during my initial visit to Death of The Fox brewing a few weeks ago and felt that it was the best pumpkin beer brewed in South Jersey. Although Schlafly Pumpkin Ale just won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival, I ranked it second on my list as it is not readily available at some of my favorite liquor stores.
Now that I got my favorites out of the way, I want to bring up a few that should be avoided. The first of which is Shipyard Pumpkinhead, as it is (in my opinion) a low-end domestic beer brewed with the faintest hint of store-brand pumpkin spice. To this day, I still find it interesting and stunning that this beer actually sells at bars and liquor stores. Next is Post Road Pumpkin Ale, which is probably one of the weakest beers I’ve ever tried from Brooklyn Brewing. Finally, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is something that has a very light pumpkin taste and not very enjoyable.