Do you love warm seasonal spices but hate the cloying sweetness of artificial syrup? If you crave pumpkin flavour, but lattes and pie just don’t do it for you, there’s another way to get your spiced pumpkin fix: Pumpkin beer!
Most breweries now produce seasonal beers. At my last count, a well-stocked liquor store took in 12 different pumpkin beers. Just remember that this bounty must be harvested promptly – they’re only available for the fall season.
Here are my fave five.
Fernie Brewing Pumpkin Head Brown Ale – 650mL for $5.60 @ BCLs
This one is a smooth, subtle, and deliciously balanced beer. There’s more pumpkin flavour here than in a lot of the other pumpkin brews, and it’s light on the spice. This beer makes a perfect pairing for those leftover turkey sandwich lunches.
Phillips Crooked Tooth – 650mL for $5.50 @ BCLs
On the other side of the sweetness scale is Crooked Tooth, brewed by Phillips. This one tastes like a perfect slice of pumpkin pie – velvety and sweet with just the right amount of spice. Drink this one on its own when you’re in the mood for a full-bodied ale with a distinctive personality.
Scandal Grand Canyon Pumpkin Bock – Prices vary @ Toby’s, Legacy Liquor and Brewery Creek Liquor Store
Warm and mildly malty, this new beer from Scandal (the second in their Seven Wonders series) is the most difficult to find. But it’s well worth the search! Creamy and round, accented with spices and weighing in at 7%, this bottle of bock packs a tasty punch.
New Belgium Brewing Pumpkick Spiced Seasonal Ale – Prices vary @ private liquor stores, including Brewery Creek
This is the most unique beer of the bunch. Mixed in with pumpkin is cranberry juice, which introduces a lovely tartness and makes this beer both versatile and refreshing. It’s a truly new and delectable drink.
Howe Sound Brewing Pumpkin Eater Imperial Pumpkin Ale – 1L for $8.50 @ BCLs
Another strong one – 8 percent, but you can hardly tell. This is the spiciest beer on the list and I love it. Lots of cloves and roasted pumpkin flavouring; and at $8.50 for a litre, it‘s affordable on a student budget! The bottle is re-sealable but so far none of my bottles have lasted long enough to need re-sealing.
- Red Racer Pumpkin Ale
- St-Ambroise Citrouille
- Granville Island Pumpkin Ale