The Great Pumpkin Beers of 2011
We pick a ‘Baker’s Dozen’ of Pumpkin Pie-Like Brews as a Former Niche Category Explodes with Hundreds of Options This Season
If you think there are more Pumpkin Beers and Ales this October than there were in years past…you’re right. It’s amazing to realize that Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale is celebrating it’s 16th season as a seasonal tribute to the native American gourd-like squash.
There are mainstream bulk brewed entries as well like Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale from Coors and Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale from the Michelob ‘family’ of Anheuser-Busch, but as always, it’s the versions that remain elusive to buyers that sparks the most interest of craft brew aficionados.
All the way from Anchorage, Alaska, the hard to find T.R.E.A.T. Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter that is available in only five states is still one of the most highly sought after malted pumpkins. The addition of chocolate certainly sparks interest but this one delivers 7.8 % ABV and proudly front labels the addition use of cocoa nibs, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
Now called T.R.E.A.T. this is the same award-winning recipe that garnered a Gold Medal for the Midnight Sun Brewing Company at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival. It’s was known then as Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter but now the brewery calls it The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment and that may be enough reason for people to hunt for a 22 oz. bottle of the almost black malt T.R.E.A.T. with the equally eclectic art label.
Certainly Jim Koch’s Boston Beer Company checks in with Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale that can be found on your grocer’s shelf, but the one that is getting more buzz this season is Southern Tier Brewing Company‘s Pumking.
Pumking is the highly rated 8.6% Imperial Pumpkin Ale that increased production after pre-sales were recorded across America, aided by the Anheuser-Busch-InBev distributor network. Southern Tier Brewing Company, which began in 2002 as a small-batch brewery in Lakewood, New York is now producing over 30,000 barrels of beer annually and is available in limited supply in more than half of the United States and on four continents.
Regionally there are dozens of dozens…hundreds of Pumpkin Beers and Ales that are produced and several have developed a loyal following and increased production as Pumpkin Taps and bottles replace Oktoberfest beers as ‘decorative’ features both on restaurant tables and on end caps for autumn shoppers.
Clipper City Brewing Company of Baltimore Maryland has two varieties under their High Seas Beer banner. High Seas- The Great Pumpkin at 8.0 % ABV is topped by what else…High Seas-The Greater Pumpkin that measures 9.0% ABV. From Tampa’s Great Gourd Imperial Pumpkin by Cigar City Brewing to the Michigan Brewing Company‘s Screamin’ Pumpkin Spiced Ale their are regionally gems worth calling an out of state friend for.
Where available, two brews from New England deliver solid ratings and good sales. From Portland, Maine comes Shipyard Brewing Company’s Smashed Pumpkin ‘Pugsley’s Signature Series’ that has gained a huge following for it’s vibrant orange pour tangy spiciness and 9% wallop. Smuttynose Brewing Company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire has received rating for Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, for it’s slightly less sweet and less spicy brew. and a bit hoppier versions of what are categorized as ‘dessert beers’.
Find This Beer: 13 Pumpkin Beer Worth A Try…if you can find them!
Pumpkin Beers and Ales are more popular than ever and retailers welcome the release of this seasonal beer more and more every year. Here are a ‘Baker’s Dozen’ of 13 Pumpkin Beers and Ales. Some will be easy to find and a couple others perhaps impossible in your area due to production levels and regional distribution. This is a list and rather than rate the Pumpkin beers and ales we invite you to try several…and let us know your favorites:
1. Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, Delaware USA-7.0% ABV
2. Pumking Ale- Southern Tier Brewing
Lakewood, New York USA 8.6% ABV
3. Sam Adam’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale-Boston Beer Co.
Boston, Massachusetts USA 5.7% ABV
4. UFO Pumpkin-Harpoon Brewery
Boston, Massachusetts USA 5.9% ABV
5. Mother Pumpkin Ale-Blue Point Brewing Co.
Patchogue, New York USA 6.0% ABV
6. T.R.E.A.T. Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter-Midnight Sun Brewing
Anchorage, Alaska USA 7.8% ABV
7. Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale- Cigar City Brewing
Tampa, Florida USA 9.0% ABV
8. Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale- Coors Brewing Co.
Golden, Colorado USA 5.7% ABV
9. Post Road Pumpkin Ale- Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn, New York 5.0% ABV
10. Screamin’ Pumpkin Spiced Ale- Michigan Brewing Co.
Lansing, Michigan USA 6.0% ABV
11. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale- Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire USA 6.0% ABV
12. Schafly Pumpkin Ale- Saint Louis Brewery
St. Louis, Missouri, USA -8.o % ABV
13. Heavy Seas- The Great Pumpkin-Clipper City Brewing Co.
Baltimore, Maryland USA 8.0% ABV
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