I like beer and I like pumpkins, but it took me a shamefully long time to actually try pumpkin spice beer. The local brewery whose “Pumpkinseed” ale I had been dying to try went out of business before I could swing by for some. I can’t even remember the name or manufacturer of the kind I tried last year. It’s probably for the best seeing as how it was only just okay. Maybe that’s why the jug containing it didn’t use a label and opted for an embossed name in the glass jug. Southern Tier’s “Pumpking” and Sam Adams’ “Harvest Pumpkin” are both good, my heart still belongs to Shipyard Brewing Company’s “Pumpkinhead” ale.
Even if this had not been the first pumpkin-flavored beer I had ever tried, I would still love it. And that’s not just because of its awesome Headless Horseman label art! The pumpkin spice is noticeable without being too overbearing and the cinnamon gives it a nice crisp taste. It’s a very refreshing experience overall. Sadly I have been unable to find it on tap in my area, as I understand it’s even better than the bottled version. It also turns out it’s now available in cans this year.
I have heard some describe this as a dessert beer and it certainly is sweet enough to justify that particular designation. Some might turn up their nose because of this, which is odd since anything pumpkin spice is supposed to be sweet! Let’s not forget how thematically appropriate this is due to Halloween being the glorious candy orgy that it is. I have also heard that adding a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream to a tall glass of Pumpkinhead ale makes for a delicious taste experience. Shipyard’s official website has a handy list of other great ideas for Pumpkinhead-based cocktails as well. They also have something called “Smashed Pumpkin” but I have yet to try it at this time. Judging from the site, it appears to be a stronger tasting version of Pumpkinhead. No matter which version you prefer, just remember to stock up on it as soon as you can. Your cravings will last much longer than it’ll be available in stores. Trust me on this.