One of my favorite parts about the fall is the seasonal beer – I talked about it a bit with Oktoberfest beers, and then with the “true fall seasonal” wet hop beers. There’s one more fall seasonal beer that we need to talk about – Pumpkin Beers!
Threre are quite a few of these beers around town, and they always seem to get the extremes from people, it seems that you either love them or hate them, with very little room for anything in the middle. It seems to go in waves too… one year you’ll find more pumpkin beers around town than you can deal with, and the next year there aren’t nearly enough… it’s a hard world to navigate, but I wanted to do my best to organize it all a little bit for you!
Bad Tom Smith
- Cheating The Gallows – This beer is a powerhouse of pumpkin, fall spices, vanilla and a little burst of chocolate hidden in the background. The beer is designed to taste like a big piece of pumpkin pie, and knocks it out of the park as far as that goes. It’s got a ton of wonderful spice flavors, and a bit of really nice nuttiness to it… I could drink this all fall long!
- Pump’kin’ – Using locally grown pumpkins and a great blend of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, this is a great example of what I consider a “traditional pumpkin beer” – it screams of the fall. This one is a little lighter in flavor than some of the other ones around – in a really good way. It’s not too in your face, with a lighter body and a crisp, clean floral character that really sets it apart.
- Blumpkin – Here’s the newcomer to the bunch, Darkness is being true to their character by making a Black Pumpkin ale that I assume is packed full of deep roasty flavors that should compliment the sweet pumpkin really well. They just tapped this one this weekend, so as soon as I make my way down there to give it a go I’ll fill you in on my thoughts!
- Sell Out – There are a lot of people that like to hate on pumpkin beers… like I said before, there doesn’t seem to be any in between… you either love them or hate them, and there seems to be plenty of vocal people that like to hate on them. Sell out is sort of the answer to all those breweries that say “we’ll never make a pumpkin beer” only to end up creating one. Solid, easy drinking base beer, with a dose of Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Spice and Lactose to call to mind the whipped cream on top of your slice of pie. This clocks in at 7.5% ABV and becomes dangerous with it’s easy drinking flavor.
- Pepo – I loved this one last year… turning the standard pumpkin beer philosophy on it’s head with a pumpkin porter, Fibonacci nails this one. It’s full of chocolate and roasty flavors that you’ll be familiar with from their Tollhouse stout, it’s made even better with a light pumpkin flavor from fresh pumpkin puree. Not overly spiced, this one pays homage to the pumpkin very nicely.
- The Great PumpCan – Rumors around this one are strong, and word is that we won’t see this in packaging again after this year. If that’s the case, you need to make sure you get some in your fridge for the last time. This is a spiced beer, with less pumpkin (if any) compared to what you might be expecting. It’s perfect for a cool evening sitting outside with friends, cinnamon, mollasses and nutmeg all fill out a big bodied beer – delicious stuff.
- Angry Jack – How do you take the normal Pumpkin formula and flip it on it’s head? It’s not enough for Paradise to make a pumpkin porter… they’ve fermented ‘Angry Jack’ in a massive pumpkin. Why? Because… well, why not? This isn’t the first year that they’ve attempted the great pumpin experient, and last years version was fantastic. It was a pumpkin Amber Ale if I’m remembering right – and I remember loving it. I’m certinaly looking forward to trying this year’s version!
- Pumpkin – It’s the OG of Cincinnati Pumpkin beer, Rivertown’s pumpkin is as classic as it gets. The beer is designed to be like pumpkin pie, using pumpkin pie filling and a nice healthy dose of pumpkin pie spices. It’s much more subdued than some of the over the top pumpkin beers that you’ve probably come to expect in today’s market, and that’s exactly what I enjoy about it. If you’re a fan of the pumpkin beer style – I say that this is where you need to start!
Taft’s Ale House
- Gourd To Death – For breweries that want to change things up when they make a pumpkin beer, it can get harder and harder to find a way to be “different”, for Taft’s, it involved a bunch of toasted pumpkin seeds in a beer that relies heavily on brown sugar, and some maple syrup. The result is a brew that is most definitely a fall beer, but not a standard pumpkin beer like you can find all over the shelves some years. Worth making a stop at the taproom just to try this!
- Han Solo – a new offering from a new brewery, it makes it hard for me to really dig in and tell you about it before I get a chance to try it, but I can tell you some stuff based off of the brewery’s description. They are calling this a “Pumpkin Spiced, Coffee, Blonde Ale” – which tells me that its in a category of its own. I can’t wait to get a glass of this to really get some good notes on it for you to read. If the previous offerings from Woodburn have been any hint so far, I know this is going to taste fantastic.
- Imperial Pumpkin Ale – this is a big Imperial spiced Pumpkin Ale, that hides it’s big 8.5% ABV behind a significant sweet pumpkin flavor that has an underlying cracker-like crust note that is really something special as far as Cincy Pumpkin beers go.