This is my favorite time of the year, where I search the pumpkin patches lurking in liquor stores and find new and wonderful pumpkin ales and lagers along with some of my old time favorites. I usually start late in the summer on my trek. This year I went around to three different states to grow my own pumpkin collection and was pretty successful with my findings.
I’m not sure what it is about pumpkin ales, but just pouring and drinking a perfectly spiced, full bodied pumpkin ale can make you feel and taste the crisp fall weather, leaves changing and all of the best scents, smells and flavors of the holidays.
Nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice and cinnamon are some of the main spices used in pumpkin ales to give it that nice, pumpkin pie like flavor. Sometimes pumpkin puree may also be added to the brewing process on top of a beer’s tradition malt, hops, water and yeast.
When it comes down to it, it depends on how spicy you want your pumpkin ale to determine the best kind. I personally think that Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale is like drinking liquid pumpkin pie. However the strength in the spices makes it where I am only able to drink a pint at time. Some pumpkin ales are just lightly seasoned, like Wild Onion Pumpkin Ale or Shipyard Pumpkinhead.
I like something that I can enjoy the spice as well as drink more than one pint. New Holland Ichabod, Southern Tier PumKing and Hoppin Frog Double Pumpkin are three ales that aren’t heavy, but anyone can enjoy.
My best advice for pumpkin ales is grabbing a few different bottles and having a tasting party for Halloween or just to celebrate the fall. Some pumpkin ales are hard to find throughout the nation and you have to be quick to get them before they are gone. If you haven’t had a pumpkin ale before I suggest picking up a few and enhancing the wonderful season of fall with a frosty mug or two.
Kathleen Slauzis is a craft beer enthusiast from Indianapolis, IN. She has been learning the ins and outs of the beer and the brewing business for the past four years. You can also find her work on http://IndianaBeer.com/ where she focuses on local craft breweries and follow her on Twitter as @KJLSlauzis.
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