‘Tis the season. From October 1st to Dia de Los Muertos, it’s your chance to put a little pumpkin spice in your life. Every year, more breweries are getting hip to our seasonal lust for all things gourd. So let’s all head out to the pumpkin beer patch, shall we?
Uinta Brewing Company, Salt Lake City
First stop on our tour de pumpkin: a great little pumpkin spice ale out of SLC. Uinta’s Punk’n ale is a pumpkin beer for beginners that won’t disappoint a seasoned palate. You’ll get a bit of malt first and then a full, velvety pumpkin pie finish from this one. The 5% ABV Punk’n is a great beer for one of those infernal summer days that insists on creeping into fall—it’s light and refreshing, but the flavors give you the feeling that the leaves are turning and that hoodies are necessary for all outings.
Wolf Creek Brewing Company, Valencia, California
Another great seasonal beer that moves you from summer sun to autumn crispness. Wolf Creek’s Punkinweizen blends the sweetness and palatability of a hefeweizen with strong notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. The hazy orange hue belongs to October (after much litigation, we’ve granted November joint custody), and the relatively low ABV (6.3%) manages to convey a lot of flavor per sip. Great beer for the last patio party of the year.
The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, California & Elysian Brewing Company, Seattle, Washington
The Lost Abbey (with a little help from Elysian) tweaked the regularly scheduled programming of Avant Garde—a great brew in the Biere de Garde style—by adding pumpkin and spices to the recipe. The results? Avant Gourde (I see what you did there). This 7.6% limited-run brew hits you with funky hop notes first, peaks with a bit of pumpkin and cinnamon and ends with a lightly bitter finish. Something of a cousin to a Saison, Avant Gourde is a fun and funky twist on pumpkin beer.
Fermentation without Representation
Epic Brewing Company, Salt Lake City
Fermentation without Representation is a velvety smooth experience. Make sure to employ your snifter with this one — if you like the smell of autumn coated in milk chocolate (find me a person who would not like this), then take a whiff. This imperial pumpkin porter delivers a gooey note of the promised chocolate upon first taste, then gives way to allspice and cinnamon. The pumpkin creeps up subtly at the end with a bit of the 8.6% ABV heat. This beer is the equivalent of a midnight trip to the pumpkin patch just before the first snow of the season. Which is clearly not something you’ll experience in Southern California, so you better just go out and buy a bottle of Epic’s imperial pumpkin porter instead.
But wait, there’s more! My love of Almanac Beer Company’s Dark Pumpkin Sour is well documented at this point. I could not, in good conscience, leave it completely off the list. But in order to make room for everyone in the car, someone’s got to ride in the trunk.