We have some good news and some bad news.
Let’s start with the bad news: summer is over. Bummer. On the bright side, it’s not winter yet. Which means you’d better bust out your Steelers gear. Get your sweaters and boots ready, too. Because fall is moving in. And along with football season and cooler temperature, it’s bringing a bunch of speciality beers with it. The best part is, you can get them all right in your backyard.
The pumpkin flavor you want, without any actual squash. That’s right, no pumpkins were harmed in the making of Nunkin Ale. But you’d never know that from the taste alone. The secret? Pumpkin pie spices are used to make this sweet seasonal ale.
What do you get when you combine roasted coffee with vanilla and pumpkin pie spices? That’s easy! You get Jacked Up O’Lantern Stout. It’s a pumpkin beer with less focus on the pumpkin. The result is a coffee stout made with beans from La Prima Espresso, setting it apart from other seasonals.
If you’ve ever thought, “Geez, eating pumpkin pie is so hard. I wish I could just drink it instead.” Well, you’re not alone. Apparently Block House Brewing thought the same thing. Then they set out make this dream a reality. And we’re happy to report they succeeded. Skip the pie, drink this beer instead.
After a not-so-scientific study, Voodoo brewing found that most pumpkin beers don’t actually contain pumpkin. Disappointed by this revelation, they created this barleywine (a strong, intense beer) packed with 200lbs. of real pumpkin. Then they aged it in bourbon barrels with cinnamon, vanilla beans and, yes, more pumpkin.
What do you call a Dunkelweizen (a darker, stronger Bavarian wheat beer), infused with pumpkin. If you’re Hop Farm Brewing, you call it a Punkle. Which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense. If you’re not a fan of pumpkin beer, be on the lookout for their Harvest Provision: a belgian-style saison, brewed with locally sourced lemon and lime basil.
Here’s another pumpkin beer with actual pumpkins in it. And the Pumpkin Stout has another defining characteristic: it’s darker than other pumpkin brews. The roasted, dark malt combined with notes of caramelized pumpkin, and a secret spice blend, truly sets this beer apart.
Over in Millvale, the team at Grist House has something special fermenting. The end result will be a spiced, Belgian-style strong ale. The exact name is TBD, but if you want the inside scoop ask about this brew by it’s working name, #BSL. And while you’re poking around, you’d better try their Harvest IPA and Black rye IPA. Both of which are coming soon!
Pumpkin in a porter? Not something you see everyday. Hence the name. It’s Dutch: “met sint-juttemis.” Which, loosely translated, means “when hell freezes over” or “when pigs fly”. Or, in this case, when All Saints Brewing puts pumpkins into porter. Roughly 20lbs of ‘em in every keg. Bonus: If you’re not a fan of the porter, try the Hollowed Pumpkin from All Saints.
When it comes to breweries, CoStar is Pittsburgh’s best-kept secret. And their Pumpkin Ale is the best-kept secret of local seasonals. As you read this, the little nanobrewery that could is busy fermenting their Pumpkin Ale, for release later this fall. Think of it as a beer with pumpkin in it, not the punch-you-in-the-face pumpkin of other fall brews.
Instead of falling in line by whipping up a pumpkin beer, Full Pint bucks that trend. Their West Coast-style stout, known as Night of the Living Stout, is pumpkin-free. But what this beer lacks in the way of squash is made up for in alcohol – it’s 7.0% ABV.
Okay, a couple things here. One, the name could not be more perfect. This beer tastes like someone shoved a pumpkin roll into the bottle. And two, it tastes as good as good as that description sounds. Actually, the words don’t suffice. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.
With a name like Pie Bandit, you have to love this beer. The flavors don’t hurt either. Expect a pinch, dash, sprinkle and smidge of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and ginger. And if you want to steal some for yourself, plan to make your way out to Bethel Park to sample the first fall-themed beer from the folks at Spoonwood.
Over in Mt. Lebanon, the team at Hitchhiker Brewing has been hard at work concocting craft beer that combines autumn, ale and alcohol. The Hitcher Pumpkin Ale delivers in all three categories. The mild, maltiness and a seasonal blend of spices give this ale a smooth, candy finish at 6.1% ABV. The kegs are already tapped, so get to Hitchhiker before they’re kicked.
After cleaning, roasting, spicing and baking two tons of pumpkin, Rivertowne tossed them into a batch of beer. The result is a smooth, cream ale that balances harvest spices and pumpkin pie. And get this: it’s served on nitrogen, into a glass with a cinnamon sugar rim. Yeah, we’re sold!
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