The pumpkin ale is the most fleeting seasonal beer. Many of the brewers who use real pumpkin can’t release their beers until September, and then stores want it off their shelves by the time Halloween passes. So instead of bombarding you with dozens to try during the short window when they’re available, we offer a tidy, ranked list of 10. If you’re like us and only drink a bottle or two of pumpkin beer each fall, just look to our top picks. To the true pumpkin devotees, we hope you’ll dive in and enjoy the more inventive and skillfully developed pumpkin beers in America.
Many of our favorites test the boundaries of the style, with barrel-aging and wild yeast coming into play. But some of those beers, though delicious, were struck from the list because the pumpkin essence was overshadowed. Our list is designed to satisfy true pumpkin brew enthusiasts, and ranges from masterful takes on the classic spiced amber ale to earthy sours and creamy coffee stouts.