I’m not an expert on beer nor do I claim to be. I don’t brew my own beer(yet) nor do I belong to an exclusive brewing society. I am however, like many people a fan. I show my support of craft breweries on an almost daily basis. As most fans of craft beer know, beer is seasonal and some beers are only offered during certain times of the year. This still being the early stages of the fall season, we as consumers are wandering in the calm of what will soon be the onslaught to a perfect storm of pumpkin flavored everything, “psl” for you trendier readers. I’ve had my fair share of of Pumpkin beers both good and bad. Here are five beers, all brewed in California, all brewed with pumpkin that I thought I would share with you. Why five beers? Because I couldn’t carry six…Why only California beers? I don’t know, because I live here I guess. Obviously there are hundreds of great breweries out there that make great pumpkin beers, probably better than the ones on this list. My suggestion, if you’re feeling festive, and want to indulge in the tastes of the season, pour that awful Shock Top garbage down the drain, and be a little more adventurous, or not, and try something new, it may not be a pillowcase full of chocolates, but as adults, it may be the next best thing to trick or treating…Happy Halloween!
A quick note, I’ll be listing the beers in order of my enjoyment, with the first being okay and the last being amazing. Also I’ll be including the descriptions from each breweries’ website. Cheers!
Black Market Brewing Co. Temecula CA
Superstition is a Pumpkin Spice Ale brewed with the perfect amounts of malt, hops, spices and of course pumpkin. Nothing brings the comfort of Fall better than a nice cold glass of Superstition. If you are really daring, try Superstition by consuming it in a glass rimmed with pure maple syrup and cinnamon sugar. It’s like drinking pumpkin pie in a bottle.
score: 3 out of 5
Bootlegger’s Brewery Fullerton CA
Pumpkin Ale is our Fall Seasonal Release Beer. Brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, brown sugar and real pumpkin juice to create this special beer. A beer that reminds us of coming home to family and getting the fresh pumpkin pies out of the oven. A perfect beer to sit back and relax with while watching the leaves change color in the fall.
score 3.2 out of 5. Of the five, this one has the most pronounced pumpkin flavor.
Coronado Brewing Company. San Diego CA
Brewed with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a heaping helping of would be jack-o-lanterns, Punk’in Drublic delivers autumn’s trademark flavors along with a hint of West Coast character, whether enjoyed in a pumpkin patch or on the beach.
score 3.5 out of 5. Great beer, bonus points for being named after punk band NOFX
The Bruery. Placentia CA
Ignis Fatuus is a special brew created just in time for Autumn activities. The base is a rich, robust porter that was brewed with an addition of puréed pumpkins. Like all great pumpkin recipes, we then added a subtle addition of seasonal spices to balance with the roasty character. We invite you to enjoy the nuanced flavors while telling ghost stories around an illuminating jack-o’-lantern.
score 3.6 out of 5. Hard to find, delicious and dark
Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Boonville CA
Pinchy Jeek Barl.
Aged for 6 months in Wild Turkey® barrels, this bourbon barrel-aged pumpkin ale is pleasantly creamy with a silky body and sweet caramel flavor. The aging process imparts notes of coconut, vanilla, and oak to compliment the tang of the spices and a hint of hops, all wrapped in a smooth, round finish.
score 4 out of 5. This beer was hands down my favorite. Easy drinking porter, smooth vanilla, with a hint of the barrels, I definitely recommend picking up a couple of bottles before they’re gone. Delicious, a must have at all costume parties this year.