Quest for the best Pumpkin Beer Continues

Update: Quest for the Best Pumpkin Beer
By: Brandy Jouannet

After the realization that a replacement for Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale had to be found in the midwest, it was time to get down to business. The first step, a trip to the local liquor store. Conveniently, the store I ended up at had a ‘build your own 6-pack’ section. Perfect. Looking through the cooler I found several contestants. The first of which was Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale.

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale seems to be one of the most popular fall beers in the midwest! Coming as a highly recommended candidate for my quest, with high praises from both friends and family, I decided that Schlafly would be an excellent choice to start off my autumnal beer journey. Available both on tap or in bottles, this pumpkin beer is both well known and well loved. With an awesome pumpkiny flavor that’s not overwhelming, this beer was one of the most true to its name that I found. With just the right amount of spices to create the illusion of pumpkin pie without allowing you to forget that you’re still drinking a beer, Schlafly truly embodied the fall-flavor I was looking for.  Another favorable quality is the lightness of the beer itself,  which makes it possible for you to have several without making you full (which is always awesome). It was clear from the start that there’s a reason so many people like this beer!

The brands of beer available at the liquor store ranged from very well known names to fairly obscure never-heard-of-em breweries. Coming from a small town might be my reason for liking the so called ‘little guy’ so much, but that’s probably why I went for one of those breweries I didn’t recognize, giving us the second contestant: Lakefront Pumpkin Lager.

Located in Milwaukee, WI Lakefront Brewery was one I’d never heard of. To be honest, the colorful label was what caught my eye. When I poured this Pumpkin Lager into my glass it had a very strong aroma, which can be either really good sign, or not so good. In this case, the aroma was my favorite part of the beer… overall, I was not a huge fan. With an excessive pumpkin flavor, and somewhat of an overkill of spices it was kind of hard to finish (true to Team Cocktail form however, I did). The beer didn’t taste smooth or well blended, but more like they took a mediocre lager and added nutmeg and cinnamon to cover the flavor. The strong aftertaste of the pumpkin was not a pleasant finish, and left me looking for something better to drink. Unfortunately this is not a beer I’d have again, nor would I recommend it to others. It quickly to a place at the bottom of my list of contenders in the quest for the best!

As I said, there are those brands that you can recognize at almost every liquor store nationwide (maybe some worldwide), Blue Moon is one of those. So, while looking at the cooler I thought “Hey, why not include a beer that everyone can find?” I couldn’t think of a reason not to, so contestant number three was Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale.

Having had Blue Moon before, I wasn’t hesitant at all to give their pumpkin ale a try. With subtle cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, as well as a mild pumpkin taste, this is easily a beer you can have a lot of. It’s very light and goes down smooth. I wouldn’t rank this as my #2, because it doesn’t quite match the uniqueness I’m looking for, but it’s definitely a beer I’d recommend to anyone (even those who don’t like flavored beers).

So one week into my quest there is a clear winner and a clear loser. So far, Schlafly is in the lead, with Blue Moon in a distant second, and Lakefront… well that will remain at the bottom of the list unless something really really bad comes along. I haven’t found yet what I’m looking for, so check in next week to see what the other contenders have to offer!




By Lyndsey
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