The return of fall means a lot of different things. For some, that means their gardens will soon have a blanket of yellow, orange and brown leaves. This means the temperatures are getting colder and the days are getting shorter. It also means the return of one of the most seasonal beers: pumpkin ale. They hit store shelves in September (sometimes appearing in the middle of the August heat). Then they left like a ghostly ghost on Thanksgiving night.
While it seems like pumpkin beer is a fairly recent phenomenon, it is not. When European settlers first arrived in North America, wheat and barley were difficult ingredients to find. If you had it, you were more likely to bake bread than alcohol. In place of grains and malt, native pumpkins have become an important ingredient in beer. There is even a recipe dating back to 1771 for “pump” beer. In the case of this particular recipe, the writer wrote that due to a “roar” you might want to wait a few years after bottling to drink it.
Before continuing, know that pumpkin beer is the coriander of beers. Either you love it in all its pumpkin and fall spice splendor, or you hate it and can’t understand why beer drinkers are waiting for it to arrive. If you’re in the latter group, just stick with Oktoberfest-style beers, wet hop IPAs, and other seasonal favorites. You will be golden until winter. If you’re a pumpkin head like us, keep scrolling to find 20 of our favorite pumpkin beers to drink this fall.
Keep in mind that while there are countless pumpkin beers on the market, these 20 fully embrace the flavor of pumpkin. The pumpkin flavor isn’t obscured by a myriad of over-the-top flavors. These are the pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, pumpkin flavor through and through.
Note: Some may not be available (yet) due to seasonality.
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