Forgetting the month for a second – it’s been too darn warm out to drink any fall brews, whether your seasonal poison is porters, Oktoberfests, or the aforementioned fruit-spiced stuff. However, there being only 31 days during which we can all agree that consuming the big orange grog is socially acceptable, you gotta go for it while ya can.
Before I tell you which pumpkin beers I think you should try, I acknowledge I’m deficient in that I haven’t tried any fall seasonals made by New Jersey breweries. Although, while having lunch at The Glen Rock Inn recently, I did have another type of beer from nationally-lauded Kane Brewing Company in Ocean, and it was so good I had trouble paying attention to what my lunch guest was saying. So I can all but guarantee their Imperial Butternut Squash Ale is going to be a blockbuster. If you happen to come across some and feel like purchasing a bottle for me, I’ll be your friend forever.
The easiest (and smartest) thing to do is to find out whether your favorite brewery makes a pumpkin ale and try theirs. If it’s good, so are you. If it’s decent, but completely out of character from their other beers, be wary of trying any of their other seasonal or specialty offerings. And if it stinks, it’s not bad manners to politely ask what the heck they were thinking when they made that stuff!
I tend to gravitate towards breweries whose water is really pure… as in, neutral-tasting enough that they don’t feel the need to sugar-coat – literally and/or figuratively – anything they make, including their heftier beers. Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Imperial Pumking is a fine example of this; the halloweeny-logo don’t hurt neither.
If you want more spice, less alcohol, and an even better logo than Southern Tier’s, get your hands on some Big Boss Brewing Harvest Time; I always do, so we could work out a trade for the Kane butternut stuff if you want…. just sayin’…..
(cough) OK then, let’s continue with – from the people who brought you Fat Tire – New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin. Do you need to know more than that? Well, you should be warned that this stuff also contains Habanero peppers and Saigon Cinnamon. Probably a good thing they capped it at 6.4% alcohol then, huh?
Dogfish Head Brewery could’ve stopped after making their first beer, Punkin Ale, in 1994. Those who wish they would’ve stopped should drink this and think again; this big-‘ol brown warmer-upper proves they’re not just an IPA machine.
But the pumpkin beer to have when you’re having more than one would be Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale. It’s just a very well made fall beer that comes off like it just happens to have some pumpkin and spice in it. If this were the only pumpkin beer, I’d be plenty happy.
I know I missed stuff. Feel free to tell me below what I missed. Cheers!
(Photos: New Belgium Brewing Company, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Big Boss Brewing Company)