My Eloquent Pumpkin Beer Rant

Ok so are you reading for it?


Ok so it wasn't really all that eloquent, but I know a lot of people feel the same way, so I decided to finally share (for those who don't know), why we see pumpkin beers hit the shelves earlier and earlier every year. 

Psst! Check out our Halloween glass, Dead Men Drink No Ales.

Why are pumpkin beers released so early?

The short version is most people don't buy a lot of pumpkin beers. The average consumer buys his or her first six pack or two, and then doesn't purchase any more. That means competition is fierce, and it becomes a race to see who can get their beer on the shelf first. Over time this led to breweries releasing them earlier and earlier to beat others to the punch. 

This "first to market" pressure was mainly driven by the larger players (think Sam Adams and Shipyard) and that meant a lot of your smaller regional and local breweries had to follow suit if they were going to ensure their pumpkin beers didn't get left collecting dust. 

It used to be weird to see pumpkin beers cropping up in August, and now I've seen them as early as July. Why is this a problem? Well let me tell you:

  1. It's too damn hot to drink and enjoy a pumpkin beer in the Summer
  2. In most places, pumpkin isn't ripe that early, and that means brewers are only using adjuncts which often leads to an inferior product
  3. It's not sustainable for breweries nor enjoyable for consumers 

Where does this lead us?

Thankfully I think we're starting to get to a tipping point with this trend. Eventually you can't really get much earlier, so I'm hoping we see a shift to beers popping up in September and October again, but then again who knows. 

Additionally, a lot of smaller micro breweries are starting to focus on selling their pumpkin seasonal's in their taprooms instead of other retail locations.

Here are some of my favorite pumpkin beers.

I'm a bit picky with my pumpkin beers, and often find myself shifting more to Oktoberfests and Marzens this time of year. If I do get a pumpkin beer, I like there to be a good balance between sweet and spicy (most I find lean too much in one direction). 

Gordgeous from NoDa Brewing


This seasonal release from NoDa Brewing won gold at the Great American Beer Festival in 2018 and 2020. It's made with real pumpkin puree along with brown sugar, ginger root, allspice, cloves and cardamom. This year I'm hoping to snag some of their variant, Drop Dead Gordgeous.

Good Gourd from Cigar City

Good Gourd Pumpkin Ale

This has been a favorite for a long time, and unfortunately I don't get it much anymore. They also have some variants - including Good Gourd Almighty and good Gourd Have Mercy - which are lights out. 

Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head

This one is a classic, and is one of the more easily accessible pumpkin beers. It's a full-bodied brown ale made with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices.

End of rant.

So there's my rant! I'd love to hear what you think about the seasonal creep of pumpkin beers, or even just learn what your personal favorites are, so don't be afraid to drop me a line!