Category Archives: Beer

10 Pumpkin Beers You Need To Try

October and November make manufacturers want to add pumpkin spices to everything they sell … and with good reason! Most of us want a little taste of something that reminds of us a nice, crisp fall day – and boy do pumpkin spices do that for me! Below are 10 pumpkin beers that are a mix of newcomers and old-timers (one is an “oldy-but-goody” that is being bottled for the first time this year). Make sure you give at least a few of them a try! Serve these in a pint glass at about 45-50°F. Keep them stored between 40-45°F.

The Fear
brewed by Flying Dog Brewery
Flying Dog brewed The Fear with a local pumpkin puree and a secret blend of spices, but once you take a sniff and a sip, those spices become quite apparent. The Fear has bold pumpkin pie flavor complemented by graham cracker and chocolate notes. Anything seasonally spicy or sweet will beautifully complement this rich and complex brew. This beer gets a B+ overall, which is very good. 9.00% ABV


The Great Pumpkin
brewed by Clipper City Brewing Co.
Clipper City (Heavy Seas Beer) adds the pumpkin during the mash at precisely the right time to create just the perfect balance of malt, hops, pumpkin and spice. The key to any good pumpkin ale is in getting the combination of malt, hops and spices just right. Clipper City has done exactly that. Cinnamon is especially prominent and alcohol is barely noted. Just released in September, The Great Pumpkin is already getting great reviews! This beer gets a B+ overall. 8.00% ABV.


Great Pumpkin Ale
brewed by Cambridge Brewing Company
Good Grief, it’s … Cambridge Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Ale!  Great Pumpkin Ale is being bottled for the first time in 22 years! CBC brews with local, organic sugar pumpkins (over 150 lbs in each batch) and they also use organic barley that was grown in MA. Great Pumpkin Ale is fairly sweet with a strong toasted malt and toffee flavor. It is certainly spiced, but not overly so. Seems the folks at Cambridge are pretty adept at brewing pumpkin beers. This beer gets an A- overall, which is excellent. 4.20% ABV

Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout
brewed by Cape Ann Brewing Company
Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout is a dark stout accentuated by flavors of the Autumn season. Using real Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, the Cape Ann Brewing Company took a fresh take on the common fall seasonal. This rich dark stout offers an inviting pumpkin spice aroma that gives way to the delicate essence of real pumpkin. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts melt seamlessly with cinnamon and nutmeg touches that really accent them well. This beer gets a B overall, which is good. 7.00% ABV.

Lips of Faith Kick
brewed by New Belgium Brewing
Kick is a rich and tart pumpkin/cranberry ale blended with wood-aged beer for a uniquely complex harvest season sour. This beer has a very nice tartness from the cranberries. The spice notes are subtle, but there. Nutmeg, all spice, and even a bit of vanilla are present. The beer pours a slightly hazed orange-amber color with a finger of white head. It looks as autumnal as it tastes! This beer gets a B+ overall. 8.50% ABV.

The Great Pumpkin
brewed by Elysian Brewing Company
Elysian makes sure this beer deserves its name: they put roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash and extra pumpkin is added in the mash, kettle, and fermenter. This results in a rich pumpkin smell & flavor. It’s a nice change from the “pumpkin” beers that get their aroma and flavoring mostly from the spices added. The Great Pumpkin is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, so it’s not that it doesn’t have a set of spices in it, just that that’s not what Elysian relied on. This beer gets an A- overall. 8.10% ABV.

brewed by Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
This recipe won a gold medal at GABF in 2007 (back when it was known simply as Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter). TREAT melds rich decadent flavors into an enticing brew that is perfect for pairing with both sweet and savory dishes. Reduce this porter down to glaze grilled meats! More brewers ought to turn their pumpkin ales into pumpkin porters or stouts; the spices work just as well with the dark malts as they do with the pale ones. This beer gets an A- overall. 7.80% ABV.

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale
brewed by Uinta Brewing Company
Aged in oak barrels, Oak Jacked is somewhere between the average and good end of the imperial pumpkin patch. It smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted pumpkin – but it is lacking on the pumpkin just a bit. It tastes like brown sugar and oak with a nice sweet pumpkin backbone. Flavor notes of nutmeg and cinnamon are there as well along with light, woody notes on the back end. It gets better as it warms. This beer gets a B+ overall. 10.31% ABV.

Pumple Drumkin Spiced Ale
brewed by Cisco Brewers Inc.
Pumple Drumkin Ale is a fall favorite. A deep orange hue and a subtle pie aroma meet a robust malt character in this ale which tastes like toasted pie crust in your mouth. It finishes clean & dry on the palate and leaves you wishing that every day could be autumn on Nantucket! The taste is sweet up front with flavors of pumpkin, caramel and spices. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The hops presence is mild but complementary. This beer gets a B+ overall. 6.00% ABV.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale
brewed by Brooklyn Brewery
Blended with barley malt, pumpkins became a commonly used beer ingredient for early American Colonialists. Post Road Pumpkin ale brings back this tasty tradition. Hundreds of pounds of pumpkins are blended into the mash of each batch, creating a beer with an orange amber color, warm pumpkin aroma, biscuity malt center, and crisp finish. This is a great beer to add to the table for your holiday dining. This beer gets a B overall. 5.00% ABV.

Have you tried any of these? Are there others you would recommend?


Summer Beer Spotlight: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Now that spring is in full swing brewers start pushing out their summer beers.  Summer beer is by far my favorite specialty batches of beer because there is nothing better than a specially brewed beer meant for a hot day. They also go perfect with grilling out. As I try new summer brews I will throw up a spotlight on it here.

The summer beer today is Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. I discovered this beer last year and it quickly became one of my favorite beers. I was like a kid in a candy store a couple weeks ago when I saw the local grocery store setting up a display with it in it.

Leinenkugel’s is based out of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and is the seventh oldest brewery in the US. Summer Shandy is a their summer seasonal beer and is available on the market from April through August. What makes this a summer beer you ask? Well it is a blend of wheat and pale barley with a splash of lemonade. When you try this for the first time make sure it is a nice sunny 80-90 degree day out. Spend a little time outside then come in and open up the refrigerator and then drink one.  Good stuff.

Have you tried Summer Shandy? Let me know what you think in the comments.


Spring Beers

Spring arrived this past Sunday and people’s thoughts quickly turned to warmer days. I know I started thinking about warmer weather, grilling and beer. Just like peanut butter has a companion in jelly, grilling has a companion in beer. I fired up my grill this past weekend for the first time and I knew I needed beer for the occasion. I have never really looked at seasonal spring beers before and for good reason as they are not as popular as the more dominant seasonal beers of winter and summer.

If there is one style of beer that is credited to spring it would be bock. Bock is a strong lager that has a German origin. Bock has several variations under it, mainly, doppelbock, eisbock and maibock.

Maibock or helles bock is usually brewed for consumption at spring festivals. This version of bock is paler and a more hopped version of traditional bock. Here in the US you will find spring beer festivals in cities all over, some bigger than others. Two of the more popular spring beer fests here are the Spring Beer Festival in Portland, Oregon and Bockfest in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Doppelbock or double bock is a stronger and more maltier version of traditional bock. This style of bock has deep roots in spring. This style was first created by monks in Munich, Germany and consumed during the time of lent. During lent monks would fast and were limited to only liquids. This version of bock was sort of a liquid bread for them during this time.

The bock style definitely has its roots tied to the spring and you will find that in the seasonal beers you see from breweries. As for some of the bigger breweries most of them have some sort of seasonal spring beer. Most of these also will be going away in a couple weeks as they make way for their seasonal summer brews.

If you want to try some spring beers you will need to get out in the next couple weeks before they are gone. Below is a list of some of the more common spring beers you will find in the store.

Sierra Nevada – Glissade Golden Bock
This beer I have seen around the last several weeks and of course when I finally decide to try it I can not find it. Sierra Nevada must pull this seasonal beer earlier than its counterparts. Here is what they say this beer is all about:

“As winter begins its slide toward the sunny days of spring, we bring you Glissade Golden Bock to help you enjoy the ride. Glissade is a remarkably mellow take on the traditional spring bock.
With restrained sweetness, we emphasize subtle malt flavor, balanced against delicate aromas of spicy and floral European hops. This complex balance helps Glissade slide across the palate—bracing us against the last cold nights of winter, while its bright golden color turns our thoughts toward spring.”

Sam Adams – Noble Pils

This seasonal spring beer is brewed with 5 noble hops which are, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter, and Hersbrucker Hersbrucker from Germany and Saaz from the Czech Republic. From the bottle it states:

“Samuel Adams Noble Pils is one of the only brews made with all 5 noble hops from the world’s oldest growing regions. Its bright flavor and lively, citrus hop character remind us that the warm days of spring are just a few weeks away. Cheers!”

Noble Pils is an easy beer to go down with just a slight ting at the end. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are Sam Adams fan.

Magic Hat – Vinyl

Magic Hat has quickly become one of my favorite breweries. I usually love the beer they put out and it is always done very creatively. Their take on the spring seasonal beer is what they call Vinyl. Here is what Magic Hat says about this beer:

“Vinyl Lager is a beer with a deep amber hue, sweet malt taste and a slight balancing hop touch. This beer is produced using a lager strain of yeast and is fermented at the low end of ale fermentation temperatures, allowing the beer to maintain its easy-drinking lager-like characteristics.”

Vinyl is definitely not an overpowering lager and fits a “spring taste”. Magic Hat has another winner with this one and I would recommend trying it out. It has great flavor.

What spring beers do you enjoy? Share below.