If you’re like us, then you’re out on the hunt for fall’s collection of pumpkin beers right after Labor Day. With September in full swing, now is the time to head out and start your own pumpkin harvest. As pumpkin beers have grown more popular over the last few years, we’re uncovering more variations than ever. From ales to stouts and everything in between, find out where you can get your favorite pumpkin beers this season. edited by Erica Bauwens
1. The Legend.
What you’ve got here is the king of pumpkin ales, and the beer that may very well have started the pumpkin craze. Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale has been on the beer scene since 1994, and has only gotten better with age. Fresh pumpkin gets blended with loads of brown sugar and a strong hit of nutmeg, all packed into a beautiful amber ale. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, $9.49 for a four pack at Traino’s Wine and Spirits, 100 Church Road, Marlton, (856) 983-0056, TrainosWine.com
2. Heavy Hitter.
Weyerbacher’s imperial ale is loaded with flavor from plenty of pumpkin pie spice, and a hit of spicy clove. It’s a big beer with big flavors, and is perfect for slow sipping on an autumn evening. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, $9.99 for a four pack at Wegmans Wine, Liquor and Beer, 2100 Route 70 W., Cherry Hill, (856) 488-8948, Wegmans.com
3. Crisp and cool.
As a wheat ale, this beer is lighter than other pumpkin varieties, with a much crisper flavor and more golden color than you might be used to in your pumpkin brew. But that means it’s easier to drink, and can stand up to a lot of seasonal dishes and desserts. Shipyard Brewing Company’s Pumpkinhead Ale, $8.99 for a six pack at Martin’s Liquors, 3601 Route 38, Mount Laurel, (856) 235-2273, MartinsLiquorsOnline.com
4. Dark and stormy.
Southern Tier Brewing Company has gained a reputation for their other pumpkin variety, Pumking, but we like to mix things up and go with this sweet Imperial Stout. This dark brew features a much fuller body than the typical pumpkin beer, and features rich notes of coffee. Southern Tier Warlock, $8.49 for a 22 oz. bottle at Joe Canal’s, 1075 Mantua Pike, West Deptford, (856) 464-8787, JoeCanals.com
5. Howling for you.
Dark O’ The Moon is one of four different pumpkin beers that the Seattle-based Elysian brewing has created. A full-bodied stout, you’ll be hit with lots of cinnamon, which pairs with the natural chocolate flavor of the roasted malts. Elysian Brewing Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, $10.99 for a six pack at Cook’s Liquors, 26 Haddon Ave., Haddon Township, (856) 854-5675, ElysianBrewing.com
6. Sugar and spice.
Apples and pumpkins: Does beer get any more fall-tastic? The cider starts with a super sweet, super tart bite from Granny Smith apples but gets a quick surprise from a punch of cinnamon and all spice. It’s a cider that somehow manages to combine all the best flavors of the season into one easy sip. Woodchuck Cider Private Reserve Pumpkin, $8.99 for a six pack at Hops and Grapes, 810 N. Delsea Drive, Glassboro, (856) 582-8110, HopsAndGrapesOnline.com
7. No filter.
Harpoon Brewery’s ale is unfiltered, meaning it will have a cloudier look and an extra dose of earthy flavor. Sure, you’ll taste plenty of pumpkin, but it’s the combination of those tastes with the natural, unfiltered beer flavors that make this can a star. Harpoon Brewery’s UFO Pumpkin, $9.99 for a six pack at WineWorks, 319 Route 70 W., Marlton, (856) 596-3330, WineworksOnline.com
8. High impact.
Coming in at a whopping 8.5 percent ABV, the Ewing-based brewery’s ale is surprisingly light and sweet. You’ll find a lot of complex molasses flavor in each sip, with a spicy nose that carries through each sip. River Horse Brewing Company’s Hipp-O-Lantern, $9.49 for a four pack at Roger Wilco’s Wine Warehouse, 700 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, Voorhees, (856) 627-2667, RogerWilcoNJ.com
9. Local flavor.
One of South Jersey’s newest craft brewing companies, Village Idiot, is embracing the fall feel with their own variety of pumpkin ale brewed with lots of malt and pumpkin pie spices for a rich and bold flavor. Village Idiot’s American Harvest Pumpkin Ale, $15 for a 32 oz. growler, $9 for a growler fill at Village Idiot Brewing Company, 42 High Street, Mount Holly, (609) 975-9270, VillageIdiotBrewing.com
10. Spicy seasonal.
A hybrid beer with lots of malts and very little hops, Pumpkin Fest places its sights on their spice mix. That means you’ll smell and taste a heavy helping of cinnamon, all spice, cloves and even ginger along with flavor from real pumpkins. Terrapin Beer Co.’s Pumpkin Fest, $10.68 for a four pack at Bobkat Liquors, 1361 Delsea Drive, Deptford, (856) 845-0615, BobkatLiquors.com
11. Never fear.
Pumpkins and Halloween go hand-in-hand, and Flying Dog embraces the spookiness of the autumn season with their intense ale brewed with four different malts that add a graham cracker finish for extra sweetness. Flying Dog Brewery’s The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale, $13.99 for a six pack at Wine Warehouse, 1460 Blackwood-Clementon Road, Gloucester Township, (856) 481-4499, WineWarehouse.net
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 September, 2014).
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