By: Brandy Jouannet
As halloween draws closer my quest for the best pumpkin beer continues, ‘tis the season! With several great beers this week, next in line was Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat.
Shock Top, an unfiltered wheat beer native to St. Louis, MO has nationwide distribution, and no doubt had the upper hand when I went to try it. I love wheat beer. Therefore, it was no surprise to me when I sipped this pumpkiny beverage, that I really really enjoyed it. The wheat allowed for more of the flavors to stand out, leading off with the pumpkin, then flowing into spices such as nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon as many of the other beers I’ve tried. There was also a touch of clove for an added sweetness. The noticeably higher level of carbonation can somewhat take away from the flavor and smoothness this beer has to offer, but overall it’s a strong contender.
As a member of Team Cocktail, I must always live true to the words, ‘Travel Global, Drink Local.’ Because Boulevard (our most well known local Brewery) does not have a pumpkin ale, I had to search for something else… my most promising find, O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Beer.
O’Fallon’s Brewery, located in O’Fallon, MO (just northwest of St. Louis) may not be immediately local, but it’s at least regionally local right? Well, I thought so! After popping the the top to this beverage and giving a quick sniff, I suspected that I may have found exactly what I was looking for. Not sure, but I just had a good feeling, which was quickly
proven true with just one sip! Unlike the other beers that I had tried, the flavors of pumpkin and spice were perfectly combined. Instead of pumpkin then spices or vice versa, it was a simultaneous explosion of flavors. I instantly had a new favorite. Nothing was too overpowering, and the beer itself was light, and went down smoothly. With the addition of a cinnamon & sugar rimmed glass, it only got better. I’m not going to hesitate to recommend this beer to everyone, it’s awesome! So awesome in fact, that when I went back to get more it was sold out. My point, if you find it, try it!
With only one other brand of pumpkin beer left at this particular liquor store, it was decidedly the last contestant available until further notice. I had never heard of it. However, when I looked up the brewery, I found that it was actually very popular. Hence, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Beer joined the quest!
Touting right on the label that it was ‘America’s Original Pumpkin Beer,’ Buffalo Bill’s put themselves in a position to set standards. Right off the bat, you feel like you’re drinking pumpkin pie. If you’re looking for a desert beer, this is a good choice. Like other pumpkin beers, it’s full of cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, but has an added caramel sweetness. Although it’s sweet, it does finish with a little bit of a bite, but not one that takes away from the flavor. A touch of sugar took away some of the edge. As far as rankings within my quest, I’d rate this as about average. I enjoyed it, but not as much as others I’ve tried.
So, where do we stand thus far? O’Fallon’s hands down is at the top of my list at #1. Schlafly falls into a well deserved second with Shock Top closely in third. Blue Moon and Buffalo Bill’s land into fourth and fifth respectively, trailed long behind by Lakefront. I’ve found a lot of great beers in this quest, and am hoping to find a few more before all is said and done. But if I had to stop now, I’d say O’Fallon’s takes the cake… However, it’s not over yet!!