Fall is officially here, which means the season for pumpkin beer has arrived, too. Across the region, you’ll find plenty of classic options spiced just like pumpkin pie, along with a few creative takes, including a chocolaty porter and a sour ale that brings a spicy pucker.
Here’s how and where to get them all.
Wissahickon Brewing Company’s Ember (6.5% ABV)
Named to evoke images of a fall campfire, Wissahickon’s Ember is a spice-forward ale that’ll bring warmth as temperatures drop. A mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger are added to the boil during the brew. Then, just before it’s kegged, more cinnamon (the bolder and sweeter Saigon variety) and Madagascar vanilla beans are blended into the beer. For now, it’s available by the crowler and growler. But with a popularity that wasn’t anticipated, the brewery is currently making a second batch to put into cans. Four-packs will be available by the end of October.
Available: Through November (First batch may sell out before the second one arrives; call ahead to ensure availability)
Where to get it: Curbside pickup at Wissahickon Brewing Company or order delivery (within a seven-mile radius of the brewery); also available by the glass at the brewery’s tasting room
Price: $13 for a 32-ounce crowler, $20 for a 64-ounce growler, $6 for a 13-ounce pour at the tasting room; $14 four-packs of (16-ounce) cans will be available starting in late October
More than 150 pounds of pumpkin puree went into brewing the dozen kegs of this classic pumpkin ale, flavored with a five-spice blend heavy on cinnamon and allspice, and accented with clove, ginger, and nutmeg. It’s sweetened with maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses, which impart a rich amber color. The final result? Pumpkin pie in a cup.
Available: Now through the end of September / first week of October
Where to get it: On tap until Sep. 25 at Urban Village; four-packs of (16-ounce) cans; a limited number of cans are available at Urban Village and more than two dozen distributors, including Monde Market, Bella Vista Beer Distributors, and Franklin Beverage
Price: $14 for a four-pack at Urban Village (varies at other locations); $7 for a 12-ounce pour on draft
Pumpkin spice meets chocolate in this rich, full-bodied dark ale, which includes pumpkin puree in the mash. Cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg add spice. And chocolate malt goes into the base, which creates the immersive cocoa aroma that hits you on first sip.
Available: Now through November
Where to get it: Evil Genius Beer Company (six-packs only) and at select distributors throughout the city
Price: $9.99 for a six-pack (12-ounce bottles) at Evil Genius Beer Company; prices at other distributors vary
Iron Hill Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV)
Iron Hill’s pumpkin beer incorporates all of the classic ingredients: pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It has that classic pie flavor, too, although less sweet and more spicy, with finishing notes of vanilla from Madagascar beans added at the end of the brewing process. Lower in alcohol relative to other pumpkin beers, it’s among the more crushable options on the market.
Available: Now through early October
Where to get it: Available on draft and in cans at all Iron Hill locations, until it sells out
Price: $7 for a (16-ounce) draft, $16.75 for four-pack of (16-ounce) cans
Roy Pitz Brewing Company’s Sour Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV)
Roy Pitz is giving pumpkin beer a sour spin, using a base that’s been aged in white wine barrels for two years. This past week, roasted pumpkin, candy corn, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices were added to the mix. Expect that same pungent spiciness of a traditional pumpkin beer, paired with a much drier, lighter, and sour — the kind that makes your mouth pucker — profile.
Available: From Oct. 8 through the end of October
Where to get it: Roy Pitz Brewing Company, on tap and by the bottle
Price: $10 for a 10-ounce pour, $15 for a (500-ml) bottle
BONUS: Dock Street’s Squash Grisette (4-5% ABV)
This is a squash beer, not a pumpkin beer, and it won’t taste anything like pie. But it does have plenty of fall characteristics, including a touch of local acorn squash that’s caramelized in a pizza oven and added to the mash. The low-ABV beer won’t be ready until late October. But when it arrives, it’ll taste like a classic easy-drinking grisette, with a slight hop bite, fruity notes, and a very mild tartness. You might taste hay-like flavors, too, imparted by hops aged for a year at cellar temperatures.
Note: This is a single-barrel release, which means only 200 or so crowlers will be available. Pay attention to Dock Street’s social media for an exact release date, and plan to snag one early if you want a taste.
Available: Late October / early November
Where to get it: Dock Street for pickup (32-ounce crowlers only)