I’m a little obsessive when it comes to seasonal brews. I experience a sublime moment when I see my favorite October beers gleaming on the shelf. It’s a fun process, the anticipation, the procurement, and finally, pouring that delicious beer. Running this site is a lot of work, so when I’m “working” on watching horror movies to review, I often kick back with a nice beer. And by “often”, I mean every time. Fans of Autumn know there’s a certain mood and tone to October, especially if you think Halloween is as much fun as the entire season. If you’re home alone with a good horror flick, some flickering candles, and a craft beer; you’re doing better than most folks. So, my obsession can be your guide to spending those hard-earned dollars on the best seasonal offerings, and believe me, there’s a shit ton of pumpkin-related beers out there. Keep reading to see what’s worth the money.
In a sea of Autumn-themed beer artwork, DFH stands out with their fluorescent orange four packs of Punkin Ale. This traditional brown ale boasts a perfect mix of brown sugar, spices, and pumpkin meat to create a liquid offering of Fall. This is a yearly staple and available in a wide distribution area. Punkin Ale is a great session beer if your activities call for 2-3 beers. The 7% ABV will permit you to stay out of DUI mode.
Clocking in at 8% ABV is Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. A straight pumpkin ale featuring notes of pie crust and spices, as close as you might get to a pie in a bottle. A well-balanced seasonal spirit, ripe with fresh pumpkin, cloves and cinnamon. This sells out quick, so my advice is to grab some now.
DFH are back again with Mile Davis’ Bitches Brew. This rotating ale celebrates the groundbreaking 1970 album release, Bitches Brew. This polarizing piece of jazz fusion is still putting fans on their asses. Bitches Brew is a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root. Sipping this in a candlelit room, filled with the sounds of Miles, is truly a bewitching experience. The 9% ABV will work its magic.
I’m so glad we finally have Smuttynose distribution in Lexington. I’ve drunk those IPAs all summer. Their 5.84% traditional Pumpkin Ale is another solid entry, Very subtle, but forward when it needs to be. Their blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and other spices know how to support a beer rather than overwhelm it.
Now this is my jam. I love Pumking. Southern Tier’s insanely popular pumpkin ale saturates my town at the onset of Fall. This is one of my top three October seasonal brews and I don’t mind gushing over it. I’m not sure how they cram the buttery graham cracker crust flavor in there, and it’s not my place to figure out, this beer though, this is a little slice of Halloween Heaven. Get some if there’s some left. It really is like Pumpkin Pie in a bottle.
Another amazing brew from Southern Tier is the relatively new Warlock. A seasonal stout that draws on the inspiration of its sister, Pumking. This witchy brew contains a generous portion of Autumn spices layered against rich, chocolate and malt notes. The stout has a subtle flavor akin to Butterscotch, maybe too much for some people, but just right for me.