Beer: Pumpkin ales

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Brewers love to celebrate the seasons, and people love things made from pumpkins. Smell a match made in heaven? We scoured shelves filled with pumpkin beers to find the best companion for your carving session this weekend.

Brewery: Dogfish Head

Beer: Punkin Ale

ABV: 7%

Pumpkin character?:

Like most good things, these pumpkin flavors come to those who wait. Instead of throwing out an initial nutmeg blast, smooth fall flavors unfold calmly after several sips.

Other flavors?:

Cinnamon, caramel and brown sugar drop in to say hello, and all play well with hints of Dogfish's trademark hoppiness.

Better than pumpkin pie?:

Pretty close. This beer should bring out the best in your favorite seasonal dessert.

Rating: 3 stars

Brewery: Thirsty Dog

Beer: Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 5%

Pumpkin character?:

Brewers add five varieties of caramelized pumpkin to each batch, but the flavor didn't really pack a punch. A pumpkin whiff appears, then quickly vanishes.

Other flavors?:

Subdued pumpkin flavor might entice those who tire quickly of these kind of ales, but it didn't have much else going on.

Better than pumpkin pie?:

Not even close. Stick with Thirsty Dog's year-round offerings like Old Leghumper.

Rating: 2 stars

Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Beer: Imperial Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 8%

Pumpkin character?:

Brewed with only pumpkin-paired spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves), Weyerbacher's brew has no real pumpkin flavor.

Other flavors?:

It's more like a quality Scottish ale, with a hearty bitterness and only a miniscule hint of pumpkin-pie-inspired spices.

Better than pumpkin pie?:

Not a liquefied replacement for the sweet treat, but it's certainly a well-developed ale.

Rating: 3 stars

Brewery: Southern Tier

Beer: Imperial Pumking

ABV: 9%

Pumpkin character?:

The brew is made with a pumpkin puree, so an abundance of pumpkin flavor is present.

Other flavors?:

Southern Tier's signature intense flavors are muted by pumpkin, but you know you're sipping a top-quality craft beer.

Better than pumpkin pie?:

Despite tasting more like a pumpkin cookie, it's just as good. Though the sweetness (and ABV) might get to you after a couple swigs.

Rating: 3 stars