What makes a great pumpkin beer?
Like anything subjective, it depends on personal taste.
For me, a great pumpkin beer packs a strong pumpkin flavor, a nice blend of spices (not too heavy on the cinnamon) and it smells like pumpkin. It can be a dessert beer, or one that can be downed in multiples.
The past two months, I tried every pumpkin beer I could find. (Check out these links to see the entire search: Part I: https://kovakscorner.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/search-for-the-perfect-pumpkin-beer/ .. Part II: https://kovakscorner.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/search-for-the-perfect-pumpkin-beer-part-2/ … Part III: https://kovakscorner.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/search-for-the-perfect-pumpkin-beer-part-iii/).
There were some bad ones. (https://kovakscorner.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/steer-clear-of-these-five-pumpkin-beers/).
There were average ones.
And, finally, some were outstanding.
Without any further delay, here are my top five pumpkin beers.
5. The Great Pumpkin, Elysian Brewing Company
The aroma wafts of pumpkin pie fresh from the oven. It’s on the sweet side, so keep that in mind, but the pumpkin seeds, nutmeg and other ingredients make a wonderful blend.
4. Pumpkinhead, Shipyard Brewing Company
I’ll always have a soft spot for Pumpkinhead. The smell and taste are intense. It’s no longer my favorite, but every taste reminds me of what attracted my taste buds to pumpkin beer nearly a decade ago.
3. Smashed Pumpkin, Shipyard Brewing Company
Shipyard outdid Pumpkinhead with this pumpkin pie in a bottle. The smell … it kept taking me back to a crowded pumpkin patch brimming with pumpkins. Not overdone. Balanced. Delicious.
2. Pumking, Southern Tier
Clear yet creamy, Pumking is brimming with flavor. It’s got a kick, a little sweet, a little spicy. A whole lotta awesome.
1. Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Elysian Brewing Company
Loaded with pumpkin flavor. Loaded with space. Tart. Hoppy. Oh hell, I’ll shut up. Go enjoy this king of pumpkin ales.
Best of the rest
Pumpkinfest, Terrapin Beer Company; Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Weyerbacher; Block House Brewing Pumpkin Ale, Pittsburgh Brewing Company; Jack-O Shandy, Traveler.