A Guide to the Best and Worst Pumpkin Beers

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20. Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus
City: Itterbeek, Belgium 
ABV: 4%
Tastes like: Veggie lambic
Pumpkin flavor: High
Spiciness: Low
Perfect for: Celebrating The King’s Feast in Belgium (Nov. 15)
The verdict:: This is a lambic without the fruity sweetness. “Sour” and “vegetables” don’t necessarily go together well, though. We prefer the rest of Timmermans line-up to this one.

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19. Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin
City: Halethrope, Md.
ABV: 8%
Tastes like: An IPA
Pumpkin flavor: Low
Spiciness: Medium
Perfect for: Watching some Charlie Brown
The verdict:: Heavy Seas took the best name for a pumpkin ale, but it’s a PINO (pumpkin in name only). That’s not to say that it’s not still yummy. The hoppiest beer of the bunch, The Great Pumpkin is a little soapy on the head but with hints of spice that still make for a tasty fall beer.

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18. McAuslan St. Ambroise Pumpkin
City: Montreal
ABV: 5%
Tastes like: Pumpkin cider
Pumpkin flavor: High
Spiciness: Medium
Perfect for: Remembrance Day
The verdict:: The McAuslan is unique in that the pumpkin flavor is at the front without the beer becoming too syrupy sweet. A cider-like effervescence gives it a lightness that balances the spice.

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17. Terrapin Pumpkinfest
City: Athens, Ga.
ABV: 6.1%
Tastes like: Octoberfest, Southern-style
Pumpkin flavor: High
Spiciness: Medium
Perfect for: Carving a masterpiece in your jack-o-lantern
The verdict:: A flavorful beer with more hops and even malts peeking through the always-present pumpkin notes—all the more surprising since this is technically a pumpkin lager, not an ale. Creative stuff.

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16. Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela No 1 Pumpkin Ale
City: Dexter, Mich.
ABV: 5.9%
Tastes like: Pumpkin Sour
Pumpkin flavor: Medium
Spiciness: Low
Perfect for: People who only drink sours.
The verdict:: Jolly Pumpkin must have felt some pressure to brew a pumpkin beer—it’s in the name for crying out loud. But be warned that this is full-on sour—and the combination of pumpkin and sour takes a little getting used to.

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15. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
City: Portsmouth, N.H.
ABV: 5%
Tastes like: A PPA (pumpkin pale ale)
Pumpkin flavor: Low
Spiciness: Medium
Perfect for: People who want to get in the spirit of the season but frankly would rather just drink an IPA.
The verdict:: This is no hop bomb, but the floral notes still overpower the pumpkin and spice flavors.

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14. Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
City: Hayward, Calif.
ABV: 5.2%
Tastes like: Beer!
Pumpkin flavor: Medium
Spiciness: Low
Perfect for: Halloween in May.
The verdict:: This is a year-round pumpkin beer, ‘cause that’s how they roll out in California. The pumpkin is mild, but the beer is very drinkable.

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13. New Belgium Pumpkick
City: Fort Collins, Colo.
ABV: 6%
Tastes like: Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin flavor: Low
Spiciness: Low
Perfect for: A non-traditional Thanksgiving meal
The verdict:: Made with cranberry juice and lemongrass in addition to the usual pumpkin and fall spices, Pumpkick has a pleasant tartness not found elsewhere on this list. It’s a more accessible version of last year’s Kick from New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series.

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12. New Holland Ichabod
City: Holland, Mich.
ABV: 4.8%
Tastes like: All the right spices
Pumpkin flavor: Low
Spiciness: High
Perfect for: Getting ready for the haunted house
The verdict:: Nutmeg and cinnamon are the basis for this spicy, complex, but smooth pumpkin ale that’s surprisingly flavorful for its low ABV.

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11. Elysian The Great Pumpkin
City: Seattle, Wash.
ABV: 8.1%
Tastes like: Low-sugar pumpkin pie
Pumpkin flavor: High
Spiciness: High
Perfect for: When you really want to taste the pumpkin
The verdict:: Elysian manages a massively pumpkin-y beer without the puckery sweetness of some of its fellow bombers. There’s a big bite and the front end that doesn’t let you forget you’re drinking beer.

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