Pumpkin Spice Beers
Fall means that it's "officially" Pumpkin Spice season. We fully support indulging in your #PSL love, but why stop there? Pumpkin Spice isn't just for lattes. We have been supplying brewers with this seasonal favorite, and we thought it was a perfect opportunity to highlight some of these fall beers. So snag some at a craft brewery near you and support small businesses!
Our thanks to the friendly brewers who are always happy to talk about their craft. We have pulled many beer descriptions directly from the brewers or brewery websites, allowing them to speak for themselves.
Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard of pumpkin spice. But you might not know what's in it or what gives this spice its distinctive flavor. Ok, let's start with the basics. Almost any spice mix in the baking family will have some combination of allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mace, and nutmeg. But what makes Pumpkin Pie Spice special is the addition of aromatic cloves (no, they aren't just for sticking into oranges). Cloves have an intense flavor that is bittersweet, warm, aromatic and has a slightly numbing quality.
Dry Dock Brewing Co. Pumpkin Spice Bligh's Barleywine Ale (Aurora, CO)
First, we just want to give Dry Dock a quick shout-out for winning the GABF 2022 silver medal in the German-Style Marzen category for their Docktoberfest - another fall favorite! Now, on to the Pumpkin Spice. We talked to Joe at Dry Dock, and here's what he had to say...
"We love having Savory Spice as a partner. Each year, we use Savory's Pumpkin Pie Spice. One of our most anticipated seasonal offerings, spiced pumpkin ale is autumn in a glass. Real pumpkin added into the mash brings a rich, smooth base. Saigon and Indonesian cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mace and cloves (courtesy of the fine folks at Savory Spice) spark thoughts of pumpkin pie, holiday meals, and all of the wonderful things that make this such a special time of year."
Timberyard Brewing Co. Spider Gates Pumpkin Ale (East Brookfield, MA)
"We use Savory Spice Pumpkin Pie blend in 'Spider Gates', our Pumpkin Brown Ale, which has been a huge hit! The spices are always fresh and the blend works perfectly with our English Brown Ale base. We also add vanilla to accentuate the flavors."
Timberyard sources the best ingredients for this fall favorite. They also use organic, local pumpkins from Free Living Farm in Brookfield, MA in their Pumpkin Ale. They also feature fresh ingredients (like real fruit for their fruit beers) as well as local hops and grains for many of their other beers.
Launch Pad Brewery Barrel Aged Pumpkin Paddy (Aurora, CO)
This English Old Ale is brewed with pumpkin flesh and spices, then aged in whiskey barrels for 6 months. The warm spice flavor makes this a must-have for fall. In fact, pumpkin beer has a special place in Launch Pad History.
"The concept for Launch Pad Brewery began in 2014 after a party with friends. Owner David Levesque and his wife Erin hosted a pumpkin themed party, one of their friends suggested that David make a pumpkin beer for the party. David was an avid home brewer, so he agreed. After the party, multiple guests commented how great brew was. Someone then suggested that David should open a brewery. He talked to his best friend Henry and suggested that they take on this endeavor as a team. That was it, Launch Pad Brewery was formed in October 2014."
Other Spices Used In Brewing
We've actually devoted an entire blog to Brewing With Spices, which goes a little deeper into the use of spices in today's brewing scene. But besides Pumpkin Pie Spice, there are a few other spices that are heavily used in fall and winter beers, so we thought we'd mention those too!
This flavor may be familiar, especially to bakers. But don't think that vanilla is basic or one-note. This small but mighty ingredient packs a punch with over 100 unique flavor compounds, including floral, woody, spicy, cinnamon, sweet, and creamy notes. The most common beer style in which you'll taste those complex and familiar vanilla flavors is stout - but it's by no means the only beer style that highlights the creamy notes of vanilla. Vanilla also pairs well with other spices and flavors, so you'll often see it side by side with ingredients like chiles, chocolate, and cherries.
Armored Cow Brewing Co.'s Whole Lotta Rosie (Charlotte, North Carolina)
This Gluten-Free Blonde Ale is infused with local coffee to create a light and delicious vanilla coffee blonde ale that anyone can enjoy. This light beer is pumped with coffee flavor and accented with the perfect amount of vanilla.
Crux Fermentation Project's Tough Love (Bend, Oregon)
Tough Love is bold but nuanced, an homage to the traditional Russian Imperial Stouts. It incorporates malted rye and is aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. The aging process smooths out the edges, and bitterness succumbs to sweet notes of vanilla beans and dried cherries, with new layers revealing themselves in each sip.
Barsideous Brewing's Chocolate Casanova (Lebanon, Oregon)
Chocolate is the food of the Gods. Its aphrodisiac properties will sweeten the mood, and its medicinal properties will cheer up even the most melancholy. This stout is extra chocolatey as well as being incredibly smooth, which is probably why it was the silver medal winner in the flavored beer category at the 2021 Oregon Brewers Awards.
Like vanilla, you're probably well acquainted with cinnamon. The same sweet, woody, and spicy notes that make cinnamon perfect for dessert shine in rich, malty brews. These bold brews pair well with the strong woody and roasty flavors found in barrel-aged beers and in stouts. You'll often find cinnamon and vanilla paired with coffee or chocolate…perfect for drinking your dessert.
Spiteful Brewery's Barrel Aged Hostile Harry Cinnamon Bun (Chicago, Illinois)
This special release, Russian Imperial Stout, inspired by scrumptious breakfast flavors, is brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee. Aged for 9 months in Weller bourbon barrels, the resulting brew is creamy and balanced – but strong and bold. Don't worry; no cinnamon buns were harmed in the making of this beer.
Copper Kettle Brewing Co.'s Mexican Chocolate Stout (Denver, Colorado)
This dynamic stout, inspired by (you guessed it) Mexican chocolate, includes cinnamon, local organic chocolate, and three kinds of chile peppers for a little kick. Creamy and velvety, this flavorful chocolate stout is complex yet familiar.
Other ways to enjoy Pumpkin Pie Spice
If you're craving that autumn flavor, keep your eyes out for our Pumpkin Pie Spice in the wild. We've also spotted it on seasonal menus at coffee shops (like Dirt Coffee Bar in Littleton, CO), donut shops (like Pepperbox Doughnuts in Charlotte NC), and ice cream shops (like Jo Jo's Creamery in California)