We decided to try some seasonal beers which contain Pumpkin. We don’t often drink flavored beers, but several years ago we tried a beer which we thought was supposed to have a pumpkin flavor, but it didn’t. That beer was the Shipyard Pumpkinhead ale, which came in last on our list of Fall brews. It did not taste like pumpkin or fall flavors at all. We drank two out of the six pack and gave the rest to our neighbor…
Seasonal Fall Pumpkin Beers
Figuring we’d go local with the brews and try out some New England seasonal Fall beers, we’re glad we messed up and bought one from out of town (oops!). We chose beer specifically made with pumpkin, or claimed to have pumpkin and spice flavoring and/or beers that we thought would have a pumpkin flavoring based on their name and the graphics on the bottles. Read what we thought of these beers, beginning with the best and ending with our least favorite.
If you have a favorite pumpkin flavored beer, please let us know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page!
Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
By far the best tasting pumpkin Fall beer we tried with our little experiment. First, let’s start by saying the most Shocking part was that the beer was made in St. Louis. We live in a little bo-dunk valley on the New Hampshire and Vermont border. We see a little orange Shock Top car driving around all the time, you know with the mowhawk and all that jazz. We assumed Shock Top was a local brew – not so!
Nevertheless, we bought some Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. The second shock, after trying quite a few other beers that claimed pumpkin flavor, is that it actually tastes like pumpkin! YES! This is the CLEAR WINNER for Pumpkin Beer! It’s the only one that really, really had a Fall Pumpkin flavor.
The beer wasn’t too dark, so it didn’t sit on your tongue and leave an aftertaste, it was just right. Beautiful pumpkin and spice flavors that you expect when you want a pumpkin beer.
Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream
The runner up in our Fall Pumpkin Beer flavor tasting was the Wilhelm Scream from Magic Hat. Magic Hat is a Vermont Brewery and for us is really hit or miss with their beer. I like their Magic Hat #9 ale and their Elder Betty Ale. Some of their other beers are too dark and woody tasting for me.
The Wilhelm Scream landed as runner up as it was very similar to the Shock Top. The difference was a lemon flavor that was overpowering and less of a pumpkin and spice flavor shined through. If it didn’t have a strong lemon flavor it may have been in the same category as the Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. Alas, it has a very citric flavor which to us, is not something you would expect to have in a Fall, Pumpkin beer.
SMUTTYNOSE Pumpkin Ale
We assumed this seasonal beer would have pumpkin flavoring, you know — since the name is Pumpkin Ale…and it has a picture of pumpkin on the bottle with a little fall decoration too. Nope…nope nope nope. It’s not pumpkin flavored.
To me, it was a very dark beer, which left a really dark aftertaste on your tongue after taking swig. It tasted the way an old barn smells. Not very tasty, unless you like a musty tasting beer.
Jack-O Traveler Seasonal Shandy
The Traveler Seasonal Shandy with the name Jack-O and the jack-o-lantern on the bottle boasts “Wheat Ale with Real Pumpkin”. Okay, cool! MERRRRP ← buzzer sound. Wrong answer. It started off okay, but went down hill fast…
To start off, it smelled a little skunky, something like the scent of a Corona (ick), there’s something about sucking on a skunk beer that is just not for me. I do have to say, although it had a skunky smell, it didn’t have a skunky flavor. There actually were flavors of pumpkin and spice, it was definitely a good effort.
However, the more you drink it, the more it tastes like the smell of lemon flavored dish detergent. We couldn’t get through the full bottle. So this one ranks second to last in our book.
So last place in our taste test challenge is the Shipyard Pumpkinhead beer. It’s a dark ale that has zero pumpkin flavor. It leaves a distinct aftertaste and sits on your tongue for a while. They should remove the word pumpkin from the name of this beer. It doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all.
Pumpkin Beer Wrap-up
So that wraps up our Fall Pumpkin Beer tasting. At the top of the list of pumpkin flavored beers was the Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat, at the bottom Shipyard Pumpkinhead. Some fell in between. If I had to choose from the beers we tried, I would go with the Shock Top or Magic Hat – both left you feeling like you got what you wanted, a nice Pumpkin Beer!