I always have high hopes for pumpkin beers because typically anything pumpkin is delicious. However, I have found that many of these seasonal sippers are not what they claim to be. If it weren’t for the festive labels and fall displays in the grocery, many of these so-called “pumpkin” beers could pass as any regular brew. To find the best picks (and the ones to leave on the shelf) we decided to conduct a taste test! It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it ;) After trying several beers sold at Total Wine, these were our favorites and least favorites.
Our favorite beer was the Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale. It has an amazing pumpkin flavor and smells delicious. It’s made from pumpkins grown at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon, which creates a strong pumpkin flavor. It’s light and drinkable, best paired with desserts or pork. The only downside is that it’s a little pricey. One bomber cost $10.99 at Total Wines, but it’s definitely worth it.
The runner up was Shipyard Pumpkinhead. It has more of a pumpkin pie spice flavor instead of actual pumpkins, but it was still very flavorful while still being nice and light. It’s a crisp and refreshing drink for a warm fall day.
Next up is the Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider, which I loved. It has a tart apple taste with traditional pumpkin pie spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and allspice. It’s not as pumpkiny as I was hoping, but it was still flavorful and refreshing.
I also really liked the Red Hook Pumpkin Porter. I might be a little biased because this is one of my favorite breweries in my home state of Washington, but I think it’s a flavorful fall beer. This rich brew was definitely darker and heavier than the other beers we tried. It doesn’t have much pumpkin flavor, but you do get hints of the spices, coffee and chocolate. With a description including chocolate, I had to give it a try. It’s the perfect beer to warm up with on a chilly fall or winter day.
Now for the decent, but underwhelming beers. I had high expectations for the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, but they were not met. It’s described as having malty, pumpkin, caramel and brown sugar tastes, but I didn’t get much of that. It has the spice flavor, but I was hoping for the sweeter, pumpkin tastes. It was only mildly flavored, which I was disappointed by.
Another underwhelming try was Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale. We chose the can because we were told by other pumpkin beer aficionados at the store that it seemed to have more flavor than the bottle. It’s a little more bitter than the other beers we sampled and has a decent seasonal spice flavor.
Our least favorite was the Uinta Punk’n, which is prevalent in the grocery stores this time of year. The cute packaging influenced my decision to buy it, but after tasting it I would not buy it again. It was very bland with no pumpkin flavor, comparable to a Bud Light. If it weren’t for the label, I would not have thought it was a pumpkin beer at all. It’s light and easy to drink, but not very fall flavored.
Although it wasn’t part of our tasting since it’s not sold in Nevada, another favorite is the Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, which is brewed in downtown Seattle. It’s very drinkable and has a perfect seasonal flavor.
Do you have any favorite pumpkin beers that we didn’t try? Let me know!