Top 5 Pumpkin Ales

Since it IS that time…

I’ve never been a huge fan of pumpkin anything……at Thanksgiving, I would always welcome an alternative dessert than the plain old pumpkin pie that America loves. When it comes to Pumpkin beers, a style that has started to come into its own the past two years, there are some that are pretty good.

Pumpkin Ale

Often released as a fall seasonal, Pumpkin Ales are quite varied. Some brewers opt to add hand-cut pumpkins and drop them in the mash, while others use puree or pumpkin flavoring. These beers also tend to be spiced with pumpkin pie spices, like: ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and all spice. Pumpkin Ales are typically mild, with little to no bitterness, a malty backbone, with some spice often taking the lead. Many will contain a starchy, slightly thick-ish, mouthfeel too. In our opinion, best versions use real pumpkin, while roasting the pumpkin can also add tremendous depth of character for Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Aleeven better results, though both methods are time-consuming and tend to drive brewmasters insane.

Here are my Top 5 Pumpkin beers; Post Road was the innovator, and still one of the best.

Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale

Shipyard Pumkinhead Ale

Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Southern Tier Pumpking Ale

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale




  • Hannah October 21, 2008 @ 8:02am

    Mmmmm… I’d like to get my hands on the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin for sure.

  • Tom October 23, 2008 @ 10:54am

    You may want to try Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale. I think that one is the best that I’ve tasted. The only one on this list that I’ve tasted is Shipyard and, in my opinion, Buffalo Bill’s is better than the Shipyard.

  • Hannah October 23, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Tom – is the Buffalo Bill’s an overly sweet injection of pumpkin, or moreso the essence of pumpkin? I ask b/c I enjoy Saranac Pumpkin Ale, which has hints of pumpkin and spice, whereas others have far too much pumpkin going on…

  • Brad December 3, 2008 @ 4:03pm

    John Harvard’s Holiday Spice Ale is by far the best Pumpkin Ale I’ve had. It tastes like a piece of punpkin pie liquified in your mouth.

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