Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Orgasim Anyone?

Which Pumpkin Ale would you like?  :)
 August through October is my favorite time of the year to indulge in beer.  It’s all those pumpkin ales that hit the market.  I’m an addict to pumpkin ales! (not really, but I do get overly excited about them).

I remember the first pumpkin ale I ever saw in the store.  It was a decade ago and the brand was Saranac Pumpkin Ale.  The first time I tried it I thought, "eh, it’s all right, kind of bitter, but all right.”  My palate has since evolved and I have tried almost every pumpkin beer that’s available in the Hudson Valley Region.

In case you’re wondering…”pumpkin in beer?!”  It’s actually a three hundred year old recipe, though I doubt there were loads of spices in the them like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla.  Nevertheless, the colonists of that era would use pumpkins and squash for the malt of their brew.

"According to beer expert Lew Bryson, “American colonists used pumpkins, corn, spruce tips, and persimmons before they managed to import, and later grow barley.” Pumpkin was a readily available ingredient and a fermentable sugar, filling in for the malt needed to make beer. For colonialists, brewing ales with a local ingredient such as pumpkin was just more proof of their hardiness and innovative spirit. By the nineteenth century, as traditional beer ingredients became more accessible, ales made from pumpkins lost their caché. Pumpkin beers made a semi-comeback in the mid-1800s, but as beers flavored with the gourd rather than directly made from it. 

“If our colonial forebears could see how popular pumpkin beer is today they’d be stunned.

“But you have barley, hops and malt,” they’d say. “You can drink real ale!”

Perhaps if our forebears tasted something like the Pumking they’d think, “how do you ferment pumpkin pie?”

Now lets look at my five favorite pumpkin ales:

#5 Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale. 

This beer is sharply crisp with a kick in the face of ginger and allspice.  The pumpkin flavor hides in the background, but overall it’s probably the best sessional pumpkin beer to drink.

#4:  Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin

This beer is half ale and half stout, and has a wonderful blend of pumpkin and molasses.  The abv is 10.5% Therefore, it’s a sipper (I admit every time I have this I hardly sip ).

#3: Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin


Very nice ale, very beautiful burnt orange color. This beer is probably the best balanced pumpkin ale on the market.  You get all the flavors of the pumpkin pie spices, in addition to pumpkin and none of them are overwhelming. It also taste like a beer, rather than a desert.

#2: Southern Tier Pumking

Almost every pumpkin ale fan I know claims this is the best one available—and will always be!  They might be right.  I had a really hard time choosing between this beer and the one I picked for first place.  Although I have to disagree with what the majority of people say about this ale.  I in NO WAY find it like a pumpkin pie in a glass.  I think the only reason people say that is because of this beer’s unique smell and aftertaste of a rich graham cracker crust.  What you get with this baby is a nice refreshing taste of pumpkin, vanilla and graham cracker.  I don’t know how they do that!  And it works.  It’s like a pumpkin orgasm in the mouth!  But the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice are almost hiding in the background.  I’m glad for that because too many pumpkin beers like to throw those spices in your face immediately.

#1: Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin

It seems I’m about to contradict my words above. This beer is mega-spice in your face!  It’s like the Mistress of Fall has tied you up, is holding your mouth open with one hand while holding the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in her other, then blows the mixture right down your throat! (Did that make sense?) However, it works!  Yes, this is my personal favorite pumpkin ale baby!  You get ALL the spices of pumpkin pie—overwhelmingly, a nice smooth taste of pumpkin, and also that alcohol burn of a rich beer.  That’s why I think it works. You know it’s a beer!


I hope you enjoyed my ramblings here.  If you like pumpkin beer, please comment and tell me your favorite!
Happy Drinking  J


  1. Love it!! I'm getting dressed right now to go get me some ;)

  2. You still having your fun down there with all the indie authors? I am envious!!! :D Have fun babe! :D

    1. Nope I got home late last night. But you made that beer sound SO GOOD! What can I say?...

  3. A love for brews and spirits...A flair for strings...A talent for verse and many wicked things..,

  4. I hate beer in any form, however, you intrigued me with the pumpkin pie one.

    One of the WW. ;)

  5. ckinney, I recommend Southern Tier Pumpking then. :)