During the month of October you see it everywhere - pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie. 'Tis the season for all things pumpkin. And obviously, that includes ye ales.
Top of my list this year is Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale. For starters, I am a big fan of Dogfish Head brews, first because they are locally brewed in nearby Delaware, secondly because their 60 minute IPA is continually on draft at our regular stomping ground, and third, Dogfish Head is available on Amtrak (granted, it's the 90 minute IPA, which clocks in at 9% ABV, yowsers). But back to the Punkin Ale - yes I am spelling it correctly, the name stems (pun intended) from Delaware's Annual Punkin Chunkin, which is scheduled to take place this coming weekend. The Punkin Ale tastes of cinnamony sweet with just the right hint of pumpkin flavor. It isn't too over powering, it's just smooth, almost too smooth. Note: It's high octane at 7% alcohol volume. Drink wisely.
It's even better served up at Town Hall, where they dazzle up the rim of a frosty glass with cinnamon and sugar. Heavenly goodness.
Shipyard's Pumpkin Ale is another favorite with a different kind of spice. Now, this is where I believe my home brewing pal that declares not all pumpkin ales contain pumpkin. Interesting. I was unable to confirm the ingredients in Pumpkinhead so the jury is still out on this one, but actual pumpkin or not, it is what a pumpkin should taste like, packed and loaded with lots of flavors.
Most breweries release their pumpkin ales during the months of September and October, so as we are nearing the end of the season, I recommend you consider stocking up. A little advance planning will make you the star of this year's Thanksgiving, assuming you share your pumpkin spirits...