Skip to main content

Pumpkin haters, here are some fall beers you'll like

Show Caption

Jesse De Salvo answered the question with a response that conveyed, “You’re kidding me, right?”

So I asked again, "Do you guys make a pumpkin beer?"

De Salvo, co-founder of Crystal Ball Brewing Company, laughed and responded, "We opted not to do the pumpkin beer basically because we hate it.”

READ MORE: Disagree? Here's some beers to meet your pumpkin needs.

People know the popularity of pumpkin beer, but it isn't the only way to go.

“In the fall, people generally will start to gravitate towards darker beers,” said J.R. Heaps, head brewer at South County Brewing Company’s head brewer J.R. Heaps said. “They’re fuller bodied… you’re getting more complexity from the malt.”

Many craft breweries, like Crystal Ball and South County, have opted not to do a pumpkin beer this season, instead choosing other fall flavors like caramel or cranberries.

If you too are punting on pumpkin this fall, here’s some local beers you need to try:

“Sugar and Spice” – Collusion Tap Works, York

Don’t let the spice in Sugar and Spice fool you. This isn’t pumpkin spice.

This Imperial Brown Ale with a 9 percent ABV is made with lactose sugar, maple syrup, toasted pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sugar and Spice is on tap now at Collusion.

“Frankenbrew” – Aldus Brewing Co., Hanover

Ryan Magee, Aldus vice president of operations, said the company wanted to stay away from pumpkin when creating its fall beers.

“We wanted something with fall flavors in it without being a spiced pumpkin beer,” Magee said. “Everyone makes one, and they’re overdone.”

In doing so, Aldus developed Frankenbrew, a slightly sour ale with hints of apple and maple syrup, providing a less mainstream fall drink. Magee said the Frankenbrew is the brewery's “anti-pumpkin beer” and has an ABV of 4.5 percent. It will be on tap within the next few weeks.

“Gunpowder Falls Märzen” – Gunpowder Falls Brewing Co., Shrewsbury

Gunpowder Falls in Shrewsbury mainly brews traditional German-style beers, so doing a pumpkin spiced beer just wasn’t in their cards.

However, its Oktoberfest Märzen plays well with the current season.

“It’s got a deep orange, amber color,” said Martin Virga, Gunpowder Falls head brewer. “It’s a nice play with bread-like flavors with a subtle caramel. This year, it has come out exceptionally well.”

“Dark Thread Porter” – South County Brewing Co., Fawn Grove

Who can think of fall without remembering of all the chocolate you used to get as a kid trick-or-treating around the neighborhood?

With that in mind, South County Brewing features a chocolate and oat porter with all the chocolate flavor you could ask for in a beer.

Heaps said the beer is very dark from Hershey's chocolate powder and other chocolates used in the kettle during the brewing process.

The Dark Thread has a 6.5 percent ABV and will be on tap at the brewery within the next few weeks.

“Black Magic” – Crystal Ball Brewing Co., West York

As the temperatures continue to dip during the fall, here’s a beer set to warm you up.

Black Magic is described as a cold weather beer. It’s an Imperial Oatmeal Stout with black coffee and chocolate notes, making for a well-rounded, warming stout. Black Magic has an 11 percent ABV.

The beer is expected to be on tap within the next few weeks.

Anthony J. Machcinski is the Food and Drink reporter for FlipSidePA and the York Daily Record. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter, or email him at