Local Pumpkin Beers to Usher in Fall
We officially ring in autumn this weekend, which means it's time to start indulging your seasonal obsessions like apple picking, scarves, and decorative gourds. It also means that the market is flooded with pumpkin-infused everything, and if you've already gotten your fill of lattes (we wouldn't blame you--we hear Starbucks rolled those out before Labor Day this year), it's time to move on to beer. Better yet, just skip the latte and go straight to beer.
Here's a crop of locally brewed pumpkin beers you can hoist to toast the season.
Southampton Pumpkin Ale, Southampton Publick House, 6.0 ABV The simplest of the pumpkin beers we've tasted this year, this amber tastes more like pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg and cinnamon than it does like pumpkin. That makes it an easy sipper ideal for another quintessential fall activity--parking on the couch and watching football.
Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Brooklyn Brewery, 5.0 ABV The first thing we noticed about this perennial offering from one of NYC's most quintessential craft breweries was the body, which is a clear departure from light, crisp summer beers and a clear harbinger of changing seasons. A malty character, caramel notes, and hints of pumpkin blend for a mellow flavor profile. Good for a lazy afternoon with a book.
Saranac Pumpkin Ale, Saranac, 5.4 ABV A pumpkin beer for people who'd rather not be hit in the face with this heady fall flavor, this ale balances a savory note with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. This is another solid choice when you're looking to session something for, say, along afternoon of football-fueled drinking; overall, it's clean and light.
Pumpkin Ale, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, 5.5 ABV Brewed with pumpkin puree, this crisp, medium-bodied ale peppered with allspice and clove is especially good with food. We matched it up with a fall stew last week, but it would also be nice with holiday feasts.
Country Pumpkin Ale, Ithaca Beer Company, 6.3 ABV You'll get the classic pumpkin pie spices on the nose of this beer, but the palate gives way to the vanilla and caramel notes we associate with a rich pumpkin dessert. This beer has a little more heft than many of the brews we sampled this season, but it's still light enough that you'll be able to put back a couple without thinking about it.
Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Weyerbacher Brewing Co., 8.0 ABV We're tossing in this Pennsylvania-brewed imperial pumpkin because it's one of our favorites (and besides, Easton is just 80 miles from the city--which makes this brew more geographically local than some of what's made upstate). The boosted alcohol content helps sharpen and intensify flavors of sweet roasted pumpkin and baking spices, which are rounded out nicely with the sharp edge of hops. We'd cozy up to a fire with this beer--it's like liquid fall.
Pumking, Southern Tier Brewing Company, 8.6 ABV We crown this aptly named beer king of the pumpkin crop, and we're not the only ones--it's so popular that Southern Tier's website features a Pumking tracker, which will help you figure out where it's pouring. Intense and complex, drinking this is like sipping velvety pumpkin pie, complete with notes of graham cracker crust, except that it cleans up nicely on the palate, which means you'll be able to polish off a pint or two.
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