Essential Info

Like Oktoberfest beers, Pumpkin Ales are a seasonal offering. Right around the time you’re ready to think about this year’s Halloween costume, you should be seeing pumpkin beers of all variety show up in your local beer store.

The basic concept is simple: beer brewed with pumpkin. But this being an age of wild craft beer creativity, the way pumpkin is incorporated can vary. Some brewers will use fresh pumpkin, some canned, some will roast, some won’t, some will go for a strong pumpkin flavor with added seasonal spices (think ginger, cinnamon, the kind of stuff you’d get in a pie), while others will use pumpkin more subtly, almost as a background player in the overall flavor profile of a dry, lightly spicy beer.

Choose your pumpkin ale depending on your tastes. Of course, since you can’t tell how sweet, spicy, or dry a given pumpkin ale might be from the label, it’s always good to do a little research, or ask your local retail clerk or bartender.