The best pumpkin beer in Hamden

By on October 18, 2012
web_pumpkin

1492; Columbus sets sail to America.
1846; Abe Lincoln decides to grow out his sideburns and manscape a hefty chin strap.
1912; the Titanic runs into some trouble one evening while crossing the ocean to the U.S.

Somewhere between all this history, man decided to throw pumpkins into the beer barrel, resulting in craft beer that’s been perfected over centuries.

2012; October sets in, meaning we can indulge in everything autumn. It’s an excuse to dress up in an outrageous costume for Halloween, as well as our personal favorite – drink pumpkin beer. Many microbreweries around the country celebrate the arrival of fall by hand crafting pumpkin-flavored beers. They’re filled with delicious ingredients including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and raw bits of pumpkin. Never tried a pumpkin beer? Do it. Your tastebuds will thank you later once sipping an ice cold ale from the tap or bottle. Years of extensive research and countless dollars later, we’ve selected the best pumpkin ales you can find in Hamden. Take our word for it and try something new. But please, be responsible.

Beer #1. UFO Unfiltered Pumpkin Ale 5.9% ABV
Although the UFO Pumpkin was first brewed this past year in Boston, Mass. and Windsor, Vt., this orange, amber-colored haze ale is made with hops from the Northeast and a blend of spices. Completely unfiltered and made with pure pumpkin, it has a slightly sweet flavor that balances out the malt and earthy notes. It’s easy to drink, and ends with a pleasant pumpkin aftertaste. Simply, a pumpkin ale done right. Available in six packs from August to November. -JC

Beer #2. Shipyard Pumpkinhead 5.10% ABV
Hand crafted and brewed in Maine, the Shipyard Pumpkinhead is a beautifully made pumpkin beer. Very aromatic and much sweeter than its competitors, the Pumpkinhead is a crisp, light-bodied, low-gravity ale made with loads of cinnamon and nutmeg. This brew can be enjoyed without filling you up like most other flavored beers. For a nice twist, get the Pumpkinhead on tap at DeMils on Whitney Avenue – a little sprinkled cinnamon on the foam will bring out the spicy fall flavor of Pumpkinhead. -AH

Beer #3. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale 5.84% ABV
Not your conventional pumpkin ale. This ale has a golden pale colored body and is brewed in Portsmouth, N.H. This ale is more about the spice than actual pumpkin flavor. These guys really loaded this with hops. Made with locally grown ingredients, Smuttynose starts with a bitter bite and ends with a hint of real pumpkin aftertaste. You’re not going to get the sweetness of a pumpkin pie in this one. Truly a premium beer and absolutely lives up to its name of Smuttynose. -JC

Beer #4. Saranac Pumpkin Ale 5.40% ABV
Delivered from the small town of Utica, N.Y., this Saranac Pumpkin Ale is how you’d imagine ­a pumpkin pie to taste … if it were bottled. This amber-bodied and medium carbonated pumpkin ale is carefully brewed with lots of pumpkin flavor, nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar and sweet vanilla. Saranac Pumpkin leaves a great aftertaste and smells great. You can pick up this tasty beer with other delicious limited releases in the Saranac “12 Beers-A-Falling” variety pack, and on tap at the SBC Brewery. -AH

Beer #5. Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale 5.7% ABV
Blue Moon’s take on a Pumpkin Ale doesn’t fall short of your expectations. Beer drinkers and Blue Moon lovers alike will appreciate the numerous flavors and ingredients that go into this beer. Blue Moon’s pumpkin ale has a complex aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oranges, pumpkin and cloves. The medium-dark amber body is complemented well with its hoppy bite and is balanced with the right amount of harvest spices. Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin is fairly rich with a hint of caramel, and is quite filling. Not too bad if you are a fan of Blue Moon! -AH

The Chronicle does not endorse underage alcohol consumption. Drink responsibly.

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About Austin Hopkins and Jonathan Chow