An Ode to the Pumpkin

A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting at the Dogfish Head Alehouse, enjoying copious amounts of their recently-released 2012 Punkin ale. As usual, I was not disappointed. Why would I be? The spices – hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove – were present, as was the malty sweetness that gives it the ever so popular pumpkin pie effect. I was mostly excited for the release of the new Dogfish Head beer; but I soon realized that this could be the start of a cascading effect from hundreds of breweries throughout the U.S. The pumpkin beer craze of 2012 had begun. As a matter of fact, a few other breweries were already getting their stuff on the market (Blue Moon, Shipyard, etc.). But I am always more interested in the tried and true or unknowns. I’m excited for Southern Tier’s Pumpking, Heavy Sea’s The Great Pumpkin, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin, and New Holland’s Ichabod Ale.

At my last visit to my new favorite wine shop, The Wine Cabinet, I was (eloquently as usual) told by my beer man that Schlafly made a damn good Pumpkin Ale. So I trusted him on his wealth of knowledge and bought a six pack. What’s the worst that could happen. I can tell you with full truth in my words that this has got to be one of the most delicious pumpkin ales I have ever had. From the aroma, which exudes sexy hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, spice, and everything nice, to the taste, which coats your mouth with a smoothly carbonated and perfectly balanced combination of malty breadiness and creamy…pumpkiness. What a way to say hello to September and the hope of a temperate fall. As a matter of fact, if Schlafly wants to be my Pumpkiness Bride this year, I will be her Westley. Yes, I said this year. Do you think I’m faithful to my beers? (No Brand Loyalty)

This fall, look around you and ask yourself if you are ready to embark on a journey of fall deliciousness. Challenge your palate to discover the delectable differences between the many daring pumpkin ales. Sure there are plenty of other fall beers to fall in love with…again. Oktoberfest (Marzen) is a great one…that can wait until late September or early October. Right now, craft breweries are pumping out their best pumpkin beers in hopes of earning a gold star from you in their proverbial classroom. They are adding all sorts of fresh pumpkin, spices, and more so they can catch you in a crowded bar or in a tasting area within a convenience store saying aloud, “Damn that’s a good pumpkin beer. That reminds me of fall colors, Starbucks Pumpkin Scones, the smell of fireplaces burning, and an eventual Thanksgiving where I can’t wait to hear my family argue about whose dessert was better than whose.” I’ll tell you who wins that argument, me. Because I’ll be equipped with a set of craft-brewed pumpkin beers for all to enjoy. Now tell me that ain’t “Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle.”


Miguel Torres: I'm a craft beer fanatic, a homebrewer and President of California Castaway. I love the relaxed, fun-loving craft beer lifestyle and will rave about it to anyone who's willing to listen.

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