Beards and Brews: Pumpkin Season


Autumn is a fantastic time of the year for exciting and delicious seasonal beers. These fall offerings usually have a higher-than-normal alcohol content (five per cent or more), as well as the addition of ingredients that identify with the season.

Adding pumpkin spices to all sorts of different beverages seems to be the growing trend all over North America. Pumpkin is added to your coffee in the morning and your tea in the afternoon, so why not your beer when you’re at the bar later that night?

Here are two pumpkin beers that are sure to satisfy your cravings for gourd as Halloween approaches.

Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto)
Pumpkin Ale
5.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume)
650ml bottle
Available at the LCBO for $4.95


Great Lakes Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale pours a hazy, light amber colour with a quickly fleeting off-white head. (Dillon Rahkola / Ryersonian Staff).

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke brew up a few pumpkin inspired beers every year. Their original Pumpkin Ale is the backbone of their seasonal beer catalogue as well as one of their most widely distributed beers.

This pumpkin ale pours a hazy, light amber colour with a quickly fleeting off-white head. Right off the bat, the aroma of pumpkin spice and cinnamon is prominent. On the palate, the obvious taste of pumpkin is there but is rather mild. This still works well with the finishing flavour of nutmeg near the end of the sip. The nutmeg quickly dissipates and cleanses the palate for the next drink. The body is very light with rather active carbonation.

On the back of the bottle it says that the beer has been brewed with a generous amount of pumpkin. With this being said, I would have liked to see a bit more pumpkin added, but it does work well with the 5.5 percent ABV.

This autumn seasonal offering is a great middle of the road pumpkin ale as well as a fantastic introduction to the style. Paired with a low price point at your local LCBO, it is hard to pass up.

Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, N.Y.)
8.6% ABV (Alcohol By Volume)
650ml bottle
Available at the LCBO for $9.05


Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumking has the aroma of pumpkin and cloves as well as a soft scent of vanilla. (Dillon Rahkola / Ryersonian Staff).

Southern Tier Brewing Company in upstate New York is a staple in the American craft brewing scene and we have been lucky enough to have been receiving shipments of its season pumpkin ale for the past three years. It is often noted to be one of the best pumpkin ales in the world and it is hard to argue that.

Pumking pours a clear light orange, nearly gold colour with a thick off-white head that lingers for a while. On the nose, the aroma of pumpkin and cloves is predominant as well as a soft scent of vanilla, which adds a nice touch. On the palate, this beer is very similar to its aroma. The flavour of pumpkin is heavy but not overwhelming. It literally tastes like pumpkin pie in liquid form. The combination of alcohol, spices and a slight hop presence makes this big beer mellow and allows the pumpkin taste to linger on the palate. The body is light and drinkable, which says a lot considering the 8.6 per cent alcohol it carries.

There is a reason why this beer is called Pumking. It is truly the ultimate beer for the seasonal pumpkin lover.

Comments are closed.

Read previous post:
Hockey Game
Ram-ming them in: Ryerson’s MAC packs the house on Student Night

Free student admission and cheap beer were just the ticket in drawing a season-high 2,156 fans to the Mattamy Athletic...