Pumpkin beers? When it’s still 90 degrees outside? “Seasonal creep” refers to the earlier and earlier release of seasonals each year; Cigar City Brewing, based in Tampa, Florida, may take the cake with its chocolate-pumpkin beer released in June. In 2015, the beer was called Seasonal Creep, but another brewery had the same naming idea, so it returned this year as Seasonal Sneak.
Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Damn Handsome Grooming Co. takes spent grain from a batch of pumpkin ale plus plant oils, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove and ground pumpkin seeds (rich in Vitamin E, selenium and zinc) to make its incredible-smelling seasonal Pumpkin Spice Beer Soap. Clean up your act with the bar ($8) or liquid soap pump ($14), damnhandsomegroomingco.com.
No pumpkins required?
Not all beers with smiling jack-o’- lanterns on the bottle even contain actual pumpkins. The Brewers Association’s 2016 style guidelines separate Pumpkin Spice Beers, which contain baking spices and potentially pumpkins or squash (though this isn’t required), from Pumpkin/ Squash Beers, which contain the actual gourds but not spices. The Beer Judge Certification Program lumps both under the umbrella of Autumn Seasonal Beers.
Mark your calendars! That’s the date for the 12th annual Elysian Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, which this year moves to the North Lot at CenturyLink Field outside the Elysian Fields brewpub to accommodate larger crowds. The Seattle-based brewery is a legend of the fall, brewing around 20 different pumpkin beers that include darker styles like Night Owl pumpkin ale, Punkuccino pumpkin-coffee ale and Dark O’ The Moon pumpkin stout.
For the haters
“It’s that special time of year when we voluntarily imbibe pumpkin spice lattes, the coffee that tastes like a candle. And I don’t mean it tastes like a candle smells— pumpkin spice lattes taste like a candle tastes.” ⏤ John Oliver, “Last Week Tonight”
Pumpkin’s wild side: Turns out pumpkin plays just fine with tart-and-funky base styles, like these.
Almanac Pumpkin Pie de Brettaville: Brettanomyces yeast lends pineapple and melon fruitiness to this new oak-aged, spiced wild ale hitting shelves in early September.
Brewery Vivant Pumpkin Tart: The lightly tart, spiced farmhouse pumpkin ale is back for a third year this September; look for it in bright orange 16-ounce cans.
Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela: This annual release—a sour beer packed with pumpkin, spices and a touch of cacao—returns in early September after a slumber in oak.
Breakfast food for thought
Here’s a new pumpkin spice creation we think actually makes sense: Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. Baking spices plus cereal grains are a logical combo and allow us to get our fix at breakfast rather than waiting for happy hour.
79%: The percentage of sales of pumpkin-flavored products that grew between 2011 and 2015, according to Nielsen data.