Rating an assortment of pumpkin-based beers

With Halloween right around the corner, pumpkin beers have hit the shelves again.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

One of beer’s beauties is that it can be brewed with practically any ingredient. Fruits and vegetables are common, although beers using Hungarian pig (yeah, actual swine) and peanut butter were showcased at the recent Great American Beer Festival. With the season in mind, we explore a sampling of pumpkin-based brews. This is only a sample—you’ll be surprised how many are out there once you start looking.

Dogfish Head Punkin

Three stars

Normally, Dogfish Head’s beers are substantially more boisterous, but the strong cinnamon and allspice flavors make for a surprisingly easy-drinking 7 percent ABV ale.

Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin

Three stars

I’m not usually a cider drinker, but the pumpkin cuts the typical cider sharpness. It’s well worth tracking down the world’s only pumpkin cider during its limited seasonal run.

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale

Zero stars

This is available year round, but you shouldn’t care, because it tastes like pumpkin-tainted dishwater. Please don’t make me drink anymore.

Uinta Punk’n

One star

An aptly named beer, because it reminds me of Ashton Kutcher’s similarly titled show. What if you brewed a pumpkin beer that didn’t taste like pumpkin? You just got punk’d by Uinta Punk’n!

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Four stars

Best described as pumpkin pie in a bottle, this beer is wonderfully balanced and easily drinkable. I wish this were available year-round.

Uinta Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Three stars

Uinta redeems itself with a wonderful oaked pumpkin ale. A nice balance of toastiness and sweetness weighing in at a robust 10.31 percent ABV.

Photo of Jim Begley

Jim Begley

Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

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