I'm excited to say that autumn is officially just around the corner on Sept. 22. The leaves are starting to change colors, and the weather is a bit cooler. Most importantly, after too many months of waiting, pumpkin-flavored beer is finally hitting store shelves. Although pumpkin beer sounds like dessert in a bottle, not all of them are like the saccharine pies at the Thanksgiving table. In fact, most pumpkin beers have a pleasantly subtle flavor that pairs perfectly with dinner or happy hour. Trust me on this: you should definitely give these eight pumpkin-flavored beers a shot this fall. I know I will.
This might be a little bit hard to believe, but beer has actually been brewed from pumpkins since the early European settlers first came over to New England, according to Smuttynose's website. Brewers were desperately seeking to extend their supply of expensive imported malt with less expensive ingredients they could grow locally, and two of the most commonly used resources they brewed with were squash and pumpkins. It's true, and brewers are still all about it to this day. Aside from the fact that brewing with pumpkin may or may not cost less, it tastes absolutely amazing, and it will totally make your autumn extra special.
1. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Most of Dogfish Head Brewery's beer is right up my alley, and the brewery's Punkin Ale is no exception. Per its website, it's a slightly-heavier brown ale with 7 percent ABV, brewed with real pieces of pumpkin along with brown sugar, and, of course, all essential fall spices. It's rich, full-bodied, and quite frankly, this sip is ideal for a crisp fall day.
2. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
According to Smuttynose Brewing Company's website, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is also brewed with real, fresh pumpkin along with a blend of pumpkin pie spices. It's a little on the lighter side of most gourd-inspired sips with 6.5 percent ABV, and 6-packs of the stuff will be available through Thanksgiving (aka Nov. 22, 2018). I can't wait until turkey day, though, because I need to get my hands on this ASAP.
3. UFO Pumpkin Ale
UFO Pumpkin Ale, according to Total Wine, blends pumpkin with spices, hops, and barley. It's a smooth and slightly sweet malt, with earthy hints of pumpkin. It's definitely what I'll be drinking next Saturday night, and at a mere $19.99 per 12-pack, it's a total steal.
4. Southern Tier Pumpking Ale
According to Total Wine, Southern Tier's Pumpking literally tastes like you're eating a slice of pumpkin pie. It's super flavorful, with strong flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin. It's incredibly creamy, making for a rich, delicious experience. With 8.6 percent ABV, you'll probably only want one or two, but you'll be happy you went for it.
5. Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Blue Moon's Harvest Pumpkin Ale is a slightly lighter beer at only 5.7 percent ABV. Per Total Wine, it's brewed with real pumpkin, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. It's perfect if you're looking to have more than one, and it'll leave a hint of pumpkin pie in your mouth after only one.
6. Two Roads Roadsmary's Baby
With a 6.8 percent ABV, Two Roads' Rosemary's Baby is a little more subtle, per Total Wine. With hints of autumn spice, pumpkin, rum, and vanilla, you'll definitely get all the fall feels from this brew. If you aren't totally sure how you feel about pumpkin-flavored beers, this is definitely a good start.
7. Harpoon Pumpkin Cider
If you're more of a cider guy or gal, Harpoon's Pumpkin Cider combines two of fall's greatest flavors: apples and pumpkins, according to Total Wine. It's dry, light, and refreshing, and has subtle hints of fall spices. At only 4.8 percent, it definitely goes down smooth. Apple picking and apple, er, pumpkin cider? Yes, please.
8. Samuel Adams 20 Pounds Of Pumpkin Ale
Hailing from Massachusetts, this 5.7 percent ABV Pumpkin Ale is brewed with real pumpkin, as well as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice, according to Total Wine. It's incredibly smooth, and most importantly, it's light, so you can drink it all night long. This sip would be the perfect complement for those October pumpkin-carving nights.
There's no better way to kick off the start of autumn than with a cold pumpkin ale. Whether you opt for one that's on the lighter side, or if you're looking for something heavy to warm you up on chilly fall nights, each of these options are super delicious — and undeniably festive. Cheers, and happy sipping!