Tap This: Alternative pumpkin beers are brewed with squashes and yams.
The fall season means one thing, right? Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin toaster pastry, pumpkin cereal, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin beer and pumpkin toilet paper … well, scratch that last one, but maybe next year. However, pumpkin beers are certainly a category and a very popular one at that.
The pumpkin beer style is mainly categorized by the array of pumpkin pie spices that are common in many pumpkin spice favorites. However, not all pumpkin beers actually contain pumpkin and instead are merely spice beers with no pumpkin added.
Many brewers have a point of pride when it comes to pumpkin beers and proudly proclaim that their beers contain real pumpkin or even more loudly decree that their pumpkin beers will not be ready until this year’s pumpkin harvest is ready. No matter the stance, there is no shortage of great pumpkin beer to try this time of year.
Some brewers, however, have decided to leave the pumpkin out of their ales and instead have worked other fall vegetables into their wonderful beers. Some have chosen to use other squashes or even sweet potatoes.
Here is a small list of pumpkin-like beers brewed with some interesting ingredients that make for not only delicious beers but very unique ones that are great for the fall season.
The Bruery: Autumn Maple
The Bruery has a beer portfolio filled with some of the most sought after and delicious beers in the American craft beer scene, and Autumn Maple is their twist on the pumpkin beer style. Instead of pumpkin, it is brewed with yams, a lot of yams, 17 pounds per barrel to be exact. It is also enhanced with additions of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses and maple syrup. It is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. While similar in theory to a traditional pumpkin beer, this 10 percent ABV beer is bold and spicy, making it perfect on a cold autumn evening.
Saucony Creek: Maple Mistress
While it certainly contains a hefty dosing of maple syrup that is perfect during a cool fall evening, Maple Mistress also is brewed with butternut squash. This flavorful gourd gives the beer a rich decadent body that sits perfectly with the sweet maple syrup and caramel malts. While many other brewers may have overlooked the butternut squash and opted for its more popular relative, the pumpkin, it is still a beer that rivals even the most popular imperial pumpkin ale for flavor depth.
Funky Buddah: Sweet Potato Casserole
A favorite at any Thanksgiving feast is the sweet potato casserole, and the natural sweetness of the dish seems perfect for lending itself to a great fall-inspired beer. The sweet malts are enhanced by additions of gooey marshmallows and touches of vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar. This is most definitely a beer whose name absolutely delivers on the flavors promised inside.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.