Fall is officially here, and that means the pumpkin-spiced-everything craze is in full effect. From your lattes to your donuts, it’s all pumpkin all the time. And while a bit of the squash’s flavor is a nice way to welcome the season, these concoctions can be polarizing, particularly when it comes to the brewing world.
“Maybe it’s not that you don’t like the beer but rather what the beer stands for,” says Jessica Salrin, marketing director at Growler USA, a growing chain of microbrew pubs. “It’s the cliché of the season.”
Having consumed our fair share of pumpkin beers, we totally get it! Some are so overloaded, one sip sends you into a spice-induced tailspin. And yet, others offer the perfect balance of hoppy, malty, pumpkin-y goodness that will leave your taste buds dancing. These winners also tend to pair well with some of our fall food favorites.
Which is where Growler USA, with 23 locations across the country and a True to the Brew ideology focused solely on bringing out the best in craft beer by proper pairings, comes in. “It’s in the base of how the beer is brewed,” Salrin explains. “Some are more like an ale and some are more malty like a porter and even if you use different spices, the way the base beer is brewed really makes a difference in how it pairs with food from each region and the season.”
Toward that end, she suggests the following pairings. And we suggest you forget about the cliché and simply enjoy.
Shipyard Pumpkin Head: Shipyard’s annual offering features notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and spice. Pairs well with: Roasted pork tenderloin.
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale: This full-bodied brown ale boasts heavy pumpkin flavor along with brown sugar and warm spices. Pairs well with: Roasted duck.
Denver Beer Co. Hey Pumpkin: With a beautiful copper color, this brew is full of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Pairs well with: Roasted chicken.
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Spicy Release Atomic Pumpkin: Brewed with Habañero peppers and Saigon Cinnamon, this hearty malt brew puts “the fun back in Pumpkin.” Pairs well with: A hearty, spicy chili.
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale: This big beer has the flavors of cardamom, ginger and nutmeg, with a potent 8.0 ABV. Pairs well with: A slice of pumpkin pie.