Just as the temperature begins to dip and the last glimmers of summer fade away, pumpkin season is upon us. Whether or not you're ready to say goodbye to shandy and lighter summer beers, those options are long gone from bars and six-pack shelves. It's time to embrace the approaching chill in the air and a more comforting brew.
The shelves as DJ's Westgate Beverage in West Manchester Township are stocked with more than 30 different kinds of pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers. Holy Hound Taproom in York has already started rimming its pint glasses with cinnamon and sugar. But with so many pumpkin beers on the market, how do you know which to choose from? We've asked the local distributors what you should look for this year.
Out of Colorado comes New Beglium Brewing's Pumpkick beer. A hint of tart cranberries sets this beer apart from more traditional pumpkin options, said Sebastian Fuhrman, co-owner at DJ's Westgate Beverage. It's also brewed with pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to give it that "Thanksgiving in a glass" taste.
Although not new on the market, this imperial pumpkin ale went from just being available in 22 oz. bottles to being sold in 12 oz. bottles this year, Fuhrman said. The flavors of malty sweetness, vanilla, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and pie crust make it a favorite fall beer for many beer drinkers.
Keep an eye out for this unfiltered amber ale brewed with pumpkin and spices fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, said Steve Childres, craft beer sales rep at Brewery Products Company. Roasted pumpkin gives it a distinct flavor while traditional pumpkin spices remind people of fall's flavors. Try it on tap at Holy Hound Taproom or find it in carryout bottle shops and case stores.
While it isn't a pumpkin beer, this classic fest-style is fairly new in York County and uses European malts, hops and yeast. A deep red color, the beer has a savory malt and hop flavor profile. It's also available in local bottle shops and case stores.
Find this on tap at White Rose Bar and Grill in York, where you can taste a local beer made right in southern York County.
Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
This Belgian-style wheat ale is brewed with ripe pumpkins and spice for a smooth pumpkin wheat beer that tastes just like autumn. Available on tap at White Rose Bar and Grill and in 12 oz. bottles and 16 oz. cans at local distributors.
Visit the darker side of pumpkin beers with this chestnut brown beer made with pureed pumpkin. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and maple syrup give it a distinct flavor, perfect for watching football, eating turkey or building a bonfire.
This medium-bodied beer is the perfect orange color to capture the fall flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and caramel malts. It finishes with a hint of bitterness.
This sweet beer will remind you of your favorite fall dessert with its notes of pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla.
Try a pumpkin ale with real pumpkin mash enhanced with fall spices and sweet dough, giving this bear a warm aroma and a crisp finish. Available in 22 oz. bottles in six-pack and case stores. Also on tap at White Rose Bar and Grill, Holy Hound Taproom, Sherwood Inn and BrewVino.
This smooth, chocolaty beer has a hint of smokiness mixed with coffee that gives way to a subtle pumpkin and spice taste with a creamy mouth feel. Find it on tap at BrewVino and Holy Hound Taproom, as well as for sale in 22 oz. bottles at six-pack shops.