The marriage between pumpkin and beer has been a sublime affair since the first commercial pumpkin ale came out of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, Calif. in 1985. What was once adored as a special fall treat (similar to the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or “PSL” for die-hard Starbucks fans) now hits the shelves in mid July to the delight of eager pumpkin ale drinkers.
Pumpkin beers are produced in a variety of ways. Some brewers use fresh, hand-cut pumpkin while others incorporate pumpkin purée or flavoring. A reflection of its crusted dessert counterpart, most pumpkin brews contain subtle spice notes: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and allspice. Pumpkin beers can take the form of stouts and porters, shandies, ciders, and imperial ales. Whatever the iteration, these beers have a smooth, slightly thick mouthfeel. Easy drinking indeed.
Brooklyn Brewing’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale celebrates the historical roots of pumpkin beer, which date back to the early American colonists. And Pumking, an imperial ale from Southern Tier Brewing Co., is a favorite among pumpkin fans.