If you can eat it, smell it, or drink it, there is a pumpkin version of it in Fall. In mid-September, the season comes to life with the sudden explosion of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin candles, pumpkin snacks, and occasionally even an actual pumpkin. We at Rich Life, Poor Girl encourage wholeheartedly embracing everyone’s favorite relative of the gourd — because, frankly, why not? ‘Tis the season. Still, there are hits and misses when it comes to seasonal flavors, and pumpkin beer is notorious for being either really good or nightmarish. Luckily, you can spare yourself the horror of spending your money on the bad ones because I’ve tried six of them for you and picked out the best of the best pumpkin beers, perfect for sipping while watching a horror movie or toasting a crisp Autumn evening.
Anderson Valley, Fall Hornin’
As soon as you open the Fall Hornin’ ale, you’ll smell the cinnamon and spice on top of an earthly, caramelized malt scent. It’s a nicely drinkable beer with a smooth pumpkin finish that doesn’t overwhelm. Not too hoppy, not too sweet, with a lingering warmth. Pair this one with some brie and crackers and a cool evening breeze.
Not one for the IPA-lovers, this is a light, spicy-sweet wheat ale that will best please those of you who cherish cinnamon-scented everything and put up your Halloween decorations on the first day of September. It’s boldly seasonal, with immediate, though not shocking, sweetness and lingering spice. Pumpkinhead is easy to sip, refreshing, and good for a horror movie marathon or a session of pumpkin-carving in the afternoon.
Dogfish Head, Punkin
Punkin Ale received rave reviews on Beer Advocate, and for good reason. It’s a warming beer, with invigorating spice and hints of fall fruit. It’s a very drinkable beer with more complexity than most of its kind, and a straightforward pumpkin taste that avoids the artificial sweetness of pumpkin pie flavor. Pair this with turkey dinner and good company.
Shipyard, Bourbon Barrel Aged Smashed Pumpkin
With a high alcohol content and a richer, darker color and texture than some other pumpkin brews, the Smashed Pumpkin offers a spicy sweetness and just enough pumpkin flavor to enhance the body of the brew. It’s a good malty ale with a bourbon flavor that adds a unique twist. This one can be hard to find, as it is released in limited quantities, so if you spot a bottle snap it up.