We’ve all seen the memes about pumpkin beer (google it if you haven’t). Pumpkin beers are the seasonal beer that we all love to hate! Craft beer snobs hate them because they are popular and ubiquitous at this time of year and generic larger drinkers hate them because of some sort of hipster stigma.
To be honest, I almost got caught up in this myself, as I much prefer fresh-hopped beers and porters at this time of year, but you know what, there are actually some really good pumpkin beers out there that you would be silly to dismiss out of hand.
Pretty much every craft brewery does a standard pumpkin ale, but here are a few examples of more interesting takes on the style that you should really give a shot.
Phillips Brewery – Crookeder Tooth barrel-aged pumpkin beer (7.3%)
Phillips produces a standard pumpkin ale called Crooked Tooth. As pumpkin beers go, it’s one of the better ones I’ve tried. Alongside it, though, they also produce this more limited variant that they age in bourbon barrels for a couple of months. This adds a strong edge of bourbon and vanilla flavour alongside the pumpkin spices, which really kicks things up a notch. The alcohol content is also increased from 5% to 7.3%
Phillips Brewery – Toothless sour pumpkin beer (4.7%)
Alongside Crooked Tooth and Crookeder Tooth, this year Phillips issued a sour version called Toothless. I had recently been joking that I was surprised no one had brought these two trends together and then they went and made me eat my words. Despite my trepidation this beer was surprisingly good. The sourness works amazingly well with the pumpkin spices. It makes a great change from all of the fruity sours that we’ve been bombarded with all summer
Parallel 49 – Lost Souls chocolate pumpkin porter (6.5%)
I am a sucker for a chocolate porter, so they saw me coming with this one. The pumpkin spice is subtle but present, as the chocolate and coffee notes kind of take charge, but it’s still incredibly tasty.
Longwood Brewery – Full Patch pumpkin ale (9%)
Nanaimo’s Longwood went with a strong Belgian-style saison for their Halloween seasonal. It is packed with pumpkin spice and brown sugar flavour and almost tastes like a barley wine!
Timmerman’s Pumpkin – Lambiscus (4%)
It’s pumpkin spice lambic. Need I say more? Subtle pumpkin spice and brown sugar flavour combine with the mild sourness of the lambic to create a more subtle version of the Phillips pumpkin sour.
Howe Sound – Pumpkin Eater imperial sour (8%)
An old favourite of mine. It’s basically a standard pumpkin ale with more intense spice flavour and a strong alcohol kick—this thing is 8% and comes in a 1L bottle, so will mess you up!