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PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- It’s starting to look a little like fall, and stores all over are quickly stocking their shelves with more seasonal offerings. Just like any other industry, the beer industry loves to get in on the holidays, and it all kicks off with the offering of pumpkin-flavored beers. Craft breweries from all over the country are finding new ways to kick up the pumpkin and spices in their local ales—you just need to know how to navigate the sea of pumpkin flavoring to find the best tasting beer. To get you started, here are a few must-try pumpkin beers that you’ll want to have at your upcoming Halloween party.
Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale
By Cigar City Brewing
Cigar City Brewing’s Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale is often called one of the best in the country. With tons of real pumpkin flavor (not that chemical-flavored stuff) and all the Ceylon cinnamon, Zanzibar cloves, nutmeg and Jamaican all-spice, this beer is fall in a bottle and tastes just like the perfect piece of pumpkin pie. It’s a seasonal beer that only appears on shelves from August through October, and you’ll find it along the East Coast in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia. It’s a little tough to find, but oh-so-worth it when you crack open a cold bottle of this sweet yet tangy pumpkin treat.
Master of Pumpkins
Another East Coast brewery offering up an amazing pumpkin beer, Tröegs’ Master of Pumpkins is far better than the pun-heavy name indicates. You’ll find this one to be light, but with a complex blend of flavors that include locally grown pumpkins, clove, honey and all the other spices that make you think of autumn and falling leaves. It’s brewed with Pennsylvania neck pumpkins that are harvested just a few miles from the brewery itself, so you will love the fresh, crisp taste of the seasonal brew. You’ll find Troegs in several states along the East Coast, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C. Or go right to the source and try it fresh at the brewery in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
By Sam Adams
Samuel Adams is now a huge brewery with beer that can be found pretty much nation-wide, so be on the look out for Fat Jack, a double pumpkin beer that is infused with more than 28 pounds of pumpkin per barrel for a strong, sweet flavor and a deep, beautiful color. Of course, as with any pumpkin beer, you’ll taste a lot of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, while this one also has a bit of smoke for a truly robust flavor. Visit the Boston, Massachusetts brewery to get the first tastes of this sweet, delicious beer right from the source. Get a tour or just opt for a tasting and you’ll fall in love with Samuel Adams’ Fat Jack Double Pumpkin.
Small Patch Pumpkin Ale
By Tommyknocker Brewery
Those that enjoy brown ale will love this pumpkin-flavored offering by Tommyknocker Brewery in Colorado. It’s a hearty brown ale with a touch of molasses. It’s light on the spices, but offers just the right amount of real pumpkin to make this beer sing. Tommyknocker Brewery has lots of great seasonal offerings, and this one is only available from August through October in Colorado, though Tommyknocker is available nearly nation-wide, from New York to Nevada. If you seek a spiced up version of a traditional brown ale, then check this one out for the perfect beer to get you in the fall spirit.
Pumpkick Spiced Seasonal Ale
By New Belgium
Colorado is known for beer, and this delightful offering by New Belgium Brewery is no exception. Pumpkick is your traditional pumpkin beer, filled with fresh pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, but there is a little something extra in this one. One sip and you’ll taste the crisp addition of tangy cranberries and a touch of lemongrass to really enhance all the flavors. The result is a surprisingly fresh and crisp taste that will immediately get you thinking of changing leaves and scarf season. Though New Belgium is brewed in Colorado, chances are you can find this one at a location near you, as it’s offered pretty much nation-wide.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.