Pumpkin spice lattes aren’t the only sign that summer is transitioning to fall, in North County San Diego. Pumpkin spice beers are back again; love them or hate them! One cloudy night, at Holiday Wine Cellar, in Southern California, a group of 5 beer drinkers–both craft enthusiasts and “normal beer” drinkers–took on the challenge of trying 6 pumpkin spice beers–blindly! These blind pumpkin spice taste testers rated them based on a scale of 1 to 10; 1 being undrinkable and 10 being perfect. Find it. Buy it. Try it. Share it.
The Pumpkin Spice Line Up:
Delaware’s Dogfish Head has consistently made one of the most reliable pumpkin beers on the market. It has everything you’d expect in a pumpkin beer. The flavor of pumpkin is apparent, along with spice and just a hint of warming alcohol.
Colorado’s New Belgium has a non-traditional take on the seasonal pumpkin spice beer, although it is still supremely delicious. Pumpkick is brewed with pumpkin juice and pumpkin spice. They put their own spin on the category by incorporating cranberry and a hint of lemongrass in their recipe. The beer is sweet, yet tart, and still has the pumpkin spice flavor that you would expect.
This Pumpkin beer, from Maryland’s Flying Dog, sets itself apart with the addition of hops, in fact so much hops that this beer is actually an IPA! The pumpkin completely masks any malt flavors, so all you really taste out of this beer is sweet gourd and an earthy hop spice. There’s nothing like a hoppy pumpkin spice flavor!
San Diego’s Ballast Point brews a Scottish Ale year round known as Piper Down. This malt forward beer is then brewed with roasted pumpkin to complement the caramel and toffee flavors of the base beer. A hint of spice is added to round out the brew with a bit of earthiness.
20 Pounds of Pumpkin, by Boston’s long time brewery Samuel Adams, spices their quaffable pumpkin ale with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to create a hearty brew. Easy drinking, yet full of flavor, this beer is perfect for Halloween night candy pairings.
Starbucks fans rejoice! Colorado’s Breckenridge created this nitrogen infused stout with the coffee shop in mind. A rich creamy mouthfeel is the paramount of this beer, quickly turning into a coffee blast, with pumpkin spice lingering on the finish.
2nd Place – Flying Dog Pumpkin IPA–The Gourd Standard – 29/50 Points
3rd Place – Dogfish Punkin – 28/50 Points
4th Place – Breckenridge Pumpkin Spice Latte – 27/50 Points
5th Place – Samuel Adams 20 Pounds of Pumpkin – 26/50 Points
New Belgium’s Pumpkick, and Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down, both had the most noticeable pumpkin spice flavor; and were rated the highest because of that.
Flying Dog Pumpkin IPA–The Gourd Standard was the most unconventional of the line up. The IPA drinkers rated it high, while the non-IPA drinkers rated it very low.
Dogfish Pumpkin has nice flavor, but the consensus was that the body of the beer was more on the lighter side; resulting in a watery mouthfeel.
Breckenridge’s Pumpkin Spice Latte was a hit with the people who liked dark beer, but the ones who did not enjoy it described it as burnt pumpkin.
Samuel Adams 20 Pounds of Pumpkin was the least favorite of the bunch, because it was described as having little or no pumpkin flavor, in comparison to the rest of the lineup.
Buy your pumpkin spice favorites while you can! These beers are seasonal and not guaranteed to return next year! There are lots of other pumpkin spice inspirations you can find at Holiday Wine Cellar. Find them all! Buy them all! Try them all! Share them all!
Customers may purchase online and pickup in store. Customers may buy it online, and then have it shipped directly to their door, or contrastingly, they can make an adventure out of it, by buying it in person, at their North County San Diego, California store, while also enjoying tasting events. Find it. Buy it. Try it. Share it.