10 Best Pumpkin Beers Available Before Fall
It's very potent at 8.6% ABV, but little about its flavor suggests alcohol. It's a dark orange beer that smells like a pumpkin scone, tastes like pumpkin pie filling at the beginning and finishes like a cinnamon-and-sugar milkshake. It's also extremely popular, with a Southern Tier spokesman saying sales have increased 50% to 80% since its debut. There's a rare oak-barrel version that may require a trip to Southern Tier's brewpub, but anyone who gets their hands on a 22-ounce bottle of the original recipe Pumking is in for a warm fall evening.
Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale
BeerAdvocate rating: 91 of 100
RateBeer rating: 98 of 100
If Tampa, Fla., isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of changing seasons, fall foliage and pumpkins, you haven't had this beer.
Cigar City Brewing isn't letting its warm Gulf climate and general lack of crisp fall air keep it from brewing one of the best fall brews in the land. Using Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican all-spice, Zanzibar cloves and nutmeg to spice up its subtle pumpkin flavor, Good Gourd packs a wallop at 8.5% alcohol by volume. The 750-milliliter wine-style gives drinkers fair warning, but a snifter of Good Gourd smells heavenly and finishes with a creamy smoothness that belies its imperial caliber. It's a nice balance for a style and brewery defined by their idiosyncrasies and extremes.
AleWerks Pumpkin Ale
BeerAdvocate rating: 92 of 100
RateBeer rating: 96 of 100
Roller coasters and Colonial-era re-enactors usually get top billing in this neck of the woods, but Williamsburg, Va.'s pumpkin ale steals the show around this time of year.
Williamsburg's AleWerks, like Southern Tier, masks its Pumpkin Ale's 7.3% ABV well behind cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and just a hint of pumpkin. More a spiced beer than a pure pumpkin ale, AleWerks' brew goes for a warm pumpkin pie flavor without burning drinkers with an alcoholic, imperial punch. It's a bit of a tough find outside of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and D.C., but like that one Snickers hiding in a pillowcase full of peanut chews, it's worth digging around for.