Fall Beers 101: Part 1 – Pumpkin Beers

Moo-Duck Pumpkin Kicker Ale

The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and another sun-soaked summer fades into autumn. Football season has arrived and you can hear your local marching band practice in the evenings if you listen closely. I’ve packed away my pineapple dresses and changed wardrobes into scarves, sweaters, and boots. Yep, it’s officially fall and with the season change comes a change in palate. Goodbye shandies and radlers, hello fall beers. Ready for the transition? Of course you are, you were done sweating through 90 degree days.

Pop into your favorite local drinking establishment right now whether it be a bar, brewery, or bottle shop and you’ll see lots of seasonal brews popping up. Making the right choice can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking at. Let this be your primer on fall beer styles and recommended drinking selections; don’t feel lost!


Okay, so pumpkin beers have technically been out since late-July to be fair, but this is the peak time of year to enjoy them. I unapologetically would drink pumpkin beers year-round if they were available. The rest of you, however, seem to hate seasonal creep as much as Donald Trump. Whether you like pumpkin beers or not, they’re here and the selection becomes bigger and bigger each year.

The interesting thing about pumpkin beers is even though pumpkin everything is associated with ‘basicness’ these beers are anything but. You can find a variety of flavors and undertones in each one ranging from actual squash-like pumpkin flavor to cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, roasted malts, and even coffee. Some are much sweeter than others, some are just plain gross (Read: Our Honest Pumpkin Beer Review), and some are incredibly unique. How can you pick the right one? Well, that truly depends on what you personally prefer, but to help simplify for you, here are some of our favorites:

Southern Tier Pumking

This is for those of you that prefer the sweeter pumpkin beers. Pumking, in my mind, is literally the king of pumpkin beers. Up front you’ll get this sweet marshmallow flavor the blends right into flavors of cinnamon and then the actual pumpkin flavor. Despite its 10% ABV you won’t get a boozy finish. The vanilla/marshmallow flavor is definitely the most standout. HINT: try aging this, it gets better over time!

Southern Tier Warlock

“Yo bruh, we heard you like Pumking, so we took it and make it a stout,” is basically what I think happened at Southern Tier when this was created. In this brew, expect that same marshmallow pumpkin awesomeness, but blended with roasted malt flavor. BONUS: combine equal parts Pumking and Warlock for the WARKING.

uggs and pumpkin beer
image courtesy of @bbeerguru

Elysian Punkuccino

I know, Elysian sold out, but I l-o-v-e this brew. It takes everything I love about a pumpkin spice latte and turns it into a beer. If you can’t get over your hatred for Elysian, Atwater also has a Pumpkin Spice Latte beer that is similar.

NoDa Gordgeous

According to Amanda W, “there is a ginger smell on the nose which is whole shaved and then a very smooth taste after. There is over 50 lbs of pumpkin and a ton of brown sugar. It’s delicious. They canned it already and I have not had it yet because it has been 100 here and I just can’t. I plan on my first 4 pack this weekend.”

New Belgium Pumpkick

Pumpkick is different than most pumpkin beers because it has cranberry in it, giving it a way less sweet flavor and a hint of tart in the finish. It’s like putting Thanksgiving in a glass.

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