So, it’s the spooky month of October. Leaves change and look absolutely gorgeous for a week and a half and then a rain storm happens and blows them all away. After that we are left with cooler air, the common cold and absolutely delicious, yet admittedly over-hyped Pumpkin Beers!
Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity to wait until the very end of October to write about the big orange squash-like brews, however I’m sure plenty of these beers will be available for a short while after this month is over.
First up I begin with an honourable mention. Storm Stayed’s “Spice Up Your Life”, a Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Stout. The reason this doesn’t really count is because this beer contains no pumpkin, much like most pumpkin spice items you find out there (like a Pumpkin Spice Latte).
Let’s look at what pumpkin spice is for a second. The main one is definitely Cinnamon but there is more than just this star player on the field. We’ve got cloves, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, and if you’re smart enough to make a good pie, allspice. “Spice Up Your Life” definitely hits many of these, but mainly the cinnamon and ginger which I’m a fan of, but if you’re looking for something that will taste like a pumpkin pie, or muffin then you’ll be in for a surprise.
If pie or muffins are your thing then I suggest you head over to Flying Monkeys Imperial Pumpkin Ale. This is a liquid pumpkin muffin in a can that will mess you up real fast. Featuring a whole lot of malts (Pale Malt, Melanoidin, Vienna Malt, Caramel/Crystal Malt) and Columbus hops. And then here is the fun part, they add roasted pumpkin, light brown sugar, ginger root, allspice and cinnamon, all of which make a powerful brew with lots of flavour, and because of all the sugar, a high 10% abv.
On a lighter note we shift over to Lake of Bays Pumpkin Ale. The hops this beer is made with (Magnum and Fuggles hops) enables it to have a very hoppy scent without going overboard. This leaves room for pumpkin and all the spices. Very much an old-fashioned ale with the sweetness and earthiness of pumpkin in there.
Great Lakes Brewery has been a power house when it comes to their fall seasonals for many years now. Their Saison Du Pomp is a wild ride that I recommend to anyone that likes a sour yet earthy beer. Though I recommend their Pumpkin Ale as a much more traditional approach. Very light on the pumpkin, but definitely noticeable. The spices are much more cloves and nutmeg than cinnamon, and tastes nuttier than any other pumpkin ale. A must try for anyone willing to dive into pumpkin beers.
Anderson Crafts Ales is without a doubt my favourite brewery, and that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has ever read my blog. So, I may be biased in saying that their Pumpkin Ale is above and beyond the rest. This beer definitely falls towards the sweeter side while still maintaining the malt flavour of an old-fashioned ale. Not a lot of hops flavour present which I’m happy about because it would probably mess with the spices and pumpkin. This Pumpkin ale is also the lowest abv of all the pumpkin beers that I’ve tried, but that’s not a negative thing at all. They also kick the cinnamon up a notch by adding a brown sugar and cinnamon rimmer when you order the beer on draft.
If you find yourself struggling to find a tasty fall brew for a Halloween party, or if you’re reading this in the middle of November and enjoy the challenge of finding out of season beers, then I sure hope this little write up helps you out.