In colonial America, English barley was costly and difficult to obtain, so brewers searched for an alternative ingredient for their ales. Lo and behold – the indigenous & abundant pumpkin fit the bill.
Many of today’s brewers have revived the technique and incorporate roasted pumpkin into their ales. Some of the ales include cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg and taste rather spicy; others rely upon the sweetness & aroma of roasted pumpkin.
The Beer Advocate has a list of over 200 pumpkin ales, with some obvious standouts according to user reviews:
- Pumking Pumpkin Ale, Southern Tier Brewing Company
- Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, Saint Louis Brewing Company
- Kuhnhenn All Hallows Ale, Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
- Great Pumpkin Ale, Cambridge Brewing Company
- Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale, Carolina Beer Company
- Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout, Cape Ann Brewing Company
- Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Elysian Brewing Company
- Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Dogfish Head Brewery
- Screamin’ Pumpkin Spiced Ale, Michigan Brewing Company
- Saranac Pumpkin Ale, Matt Brewing Company
(If you’ve tried any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts.)
Pumpkin ales are seasonal, so don’t hesitate! Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try a few – otherwise you may have to wait until fall of 2009.
Written & posted by Kathleen Connally