Pumpkin ale is the quintessential seasonal for October, and I prefer these beers to taste like pumpkin pie in a bottle. Many pumpkin ales are only halfway there: The aroma may be spot on, but the flavor misses the mark, or vice versa. Unlike other versions, O’Fallon Brewery’s Pumpkin Beer satisfies my expectations for the style, in part because each batch is brewed with 136 pounds of pumpkin.
Serve Pumpkin Beer in a pint glass. Its color is medium amber, darker than its namesake gourd, and a finger or so of eggshell-colored head will leave a skim ring of foam around the edge. The aroma of Pumpkin Beer is deliciously enticing: It is reminiscent of pumpkin pie with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmm! The spices dominate, and scents of cloves and ginger emerge as the beer warms. Ever present in the background, though, is the smell of baking pumpkin pie.
The flavor is similar to the aroma, though the beer needs to warm to about 50ºF before the pumpkin pie goodness is in full effect. Cinnamon, nutmeg and clove predominate once again, and are complemented by the underlying pumpkin that is always present.
- Serving temperature: Serving at 45ºF will not hurt, but the flavors will be much more prominent when the beer warms.
- Alcohol content: 5.6 percent ABV
- Where to buy: Availability is hit or miss with the small beer stores, but most of the area’s major beer retailers sell Pumpkin Beer.
- Price: $8-9 per six-pack
Casey Wagner lives in Iowa City.