It’s that time of year, when the fridges, flight trays and pint glasses of drinkers all across Cincinnati start to take on a life of their own – it’s pumpkin season. I have heard some mumbling and grumbling that this year there aren’t as many of these seasonal favorites making their way out of our local breweries and I want to send you fall fans to the right places to get your fix!
A point to note about this rundown is the imperfection that I’ve allowed it to posses. I have included not just pumpkin beers, but fall beers too – which means that the definitions get a little fuzzy. I hope you can forgive me for this. It means that I have left out some really delicious beers that are being released this fall because they don’t “fall” enough into my fall category to be included in the seasonal rundown. I’m sorry about it, though.
Also to note – I’m not perfect, which means I might have missed something. If you know of a fall or a pumpkin beer from one of our local breweries this year that I have missed – Please let me know. It’s up to us to keep this list updated for all the fall beer fans!
- Fall Ale – Easily the newest brewery on the list (because as of writing this, they are the newest brewery in Cincinnati – 13 below is kicking off their opening tap lineup with a seasonal beer they are dubbing their “Fall Ale”. The beer is nice and mild, easy drinking with an earthy bite to the flavor that doesn’t overpower. This seems like it would be a nice beer regardless of the temperature outside, finding a good sweet spot in the heat as well as the fall chill. It’s draft only (as I’m sure you expected from a brand new brewery).
Bad Tom Smith
- Cheating The Gallows – This has quickly become one of my favorite beers that you’ll find at Bad Tom Smith. They’ve been in the midst of a massive growth plan that sees the brewery changing constantly, becoming a really unique place – and during this growth and change this pumpkin beer has stepped forward as something really tasty to welcome the fall season. It’s draft only, but it’s already on – so waste no time… get it!
- Pump Ken – named after founder of Valley Vineyards, Ken Schuchter – this beer is always a crowd pleaser. It’s a draft only offering, and usually finds it’s way to the beer taps in late October or early November. It’s right on point with what a pumpkin beer should be – to me. Solid pumpkin aromas that carry on into the taste – It doesn’t hide behind a massive dosage of spice. Great and easy to fall in love with, even if you think you don’t like fall beers.
- Blumpkin – This dark pumpkin ale is draft only, and only found in the Darkness taproom, but it’s a fun one, worth the trip down to Bellevue, KY just for a glass. It stays true to the Darkness name, with deep roasty flavors playing side by side with the sweet pumpkin, and rich spiciness that you crave.
- Pepo Porter – Like Darkness, Fibonacci takes the lighter pumpkin ale that you might be familiar with and puts a dark spin on things. This porter uses the delicious Tollhouse Porter that their fans in their taproom have already fallen in love with and kicks it up a notch with pumpkin. It’s draft only… so you’ll have to see what it’s all about in their Mt. Healthy taproom.
- Pumpkin Pie Chickow! – Listermann is known for letting their taps drift like the wind. You’ll see something, and then it will get drank up only to disappear until the brewery gets another wild hair up their ass to make it again. I spotted this one already this season, so there’s a chance if it’s not gone already it could be soon. Don’t sleep on this draft only treat.
- The Great PumpCan – This is one of the heartbreakers for fall seasonal fans in Cincinnati. The brewery announced that they would not only be discontinuing the cans of this beer, but that brewing of it at all would slowly be phased out over a few years. This year we weren’t supposed to get any cans, but a lucky discovery of a few of them left over meant that it did pop up in stores around town. They sent it out already and it’s going to be hard to find at this point – but PumpCan will always get a mention from me if even a tiny bit it made! (Read My Tasting Notes Here)
- Pilgrim – Pilgrim is not a pumpkin beer, instead, it’s MadTree’s newest fall seasonal can. You might have tried this as a draft only offering previously, and you might have seen the rumors that we would eventually see cans of it on shelves – well this year is the year! I like this beer with food – I like this beer even more with Thanksgiving food. Drink it with your dinner. (Read my tasting notes here)
- Harvest Ale – I think you could consider this a seasonal classic here in Cincinnati. It’s bottles popping up on the shelves around town are almost as much of a sign of the fall’s arrival as is the collective groans of football fans around town. This beer is a delicious ESB, which turns the formula of releasing a fall upside down a bit, and is a welcome change to fall beers that yet somehow just works perfectly as the weather is changing. You should also read my tasting notes on this one.
- Oh My Gourd! – This beer is a new taproom exclusive for 2017, and because it just tapped on October 4th, I have yet to get to try a pint of it. It’s a red al with warm Autumn spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and ginger. Remember, taproom exclusive means you’ve got to get out to Mt. Carmel to give it a try!
- Black Walnut Pecan Porter – This hits the tap lines on Friday, October 13th… ish. I say ish because Nine Giant mentioned in an email that they might let it sneak out a little early. The brewery isn’t big on pumpkin beers, so this one seems to fit in pretty well with what I’d expect from them for a fall release – and I might need to try to get out of the house for a minute to get myself a half pint of it to celebrate the season!
- Angry Jack – They don’t shy away from using pumpkin in a beer at Paradise. Hell… for Angry Jack they literally ferment their beer inside of the pumpkin because… well… because they can. It’s always a task sourcing the massive pumpkins that they need to create enough beer, so it usually comes on tap a little later than some of the other “early releasers”, but I’m ok with that, and you should be too. This taproom exclusive beer is worth the wait.
- Lumberjack – They’re calling this one an Autumnal Pale Ale… which isn’t really a style, so I’m not 100% sure what to expect from it. I have faith that a brewery like Rhinegeist can execute this to the fullest, though – especially after their ‘Hoppy Holiday Ale’ called Dad which you’ll be hearing about again in a couple of months. This is a draft only exclusive, so make your way out to Rhinegeist to give it a go!
- Sour Pumpkin – If you’re one of the die-hard pumpkin aficionados that was heartbroken to hear that Rivertown wasn’t making their smash hit ‘Pumpkin’ this year I hope that this draft only beer fills that void a little bit. The sour note sitting right next to the fall flavors is not something that you’ll find a lot of (especially here in Cincinnati) but it should be. It’s tasty! Does it fill the hole in the hearts of the pumpkin drinkers? I don’t know… but you should drink it either way.
- Ember – New beer, new packaging, this is a beer that seems to me to be as at home in the Oktoberfest season as it is in the fall season (and probably well beyond that). It’s a dunkel style lager, dark, malty and sweet, and it pairs up nicely with food. It seems to be a great beer regardless of which side of fall’s personality you find yourself in, the warm days or the chilly nights. It’s available on draft and in bottles in stores now, so you should give it a try. (My tasting notes will be up soon!)
Taft’s Ale House
- Gourd To Death – This one is a draft only exclusive, and uses toasted pumpkin seeds to set itself apart of the pack of typical pumpkin beers. The flavor profile is backed up with brown sugar and maple syrup too, if you were afraid it wouldn’t be “fall enough”. You should be able to start finding this one on draft starting today (Thursday, October 5th) at Taft’s Ale House – but it won’t last forever!
- Han Solo – Pumpkin – This beer takes their blonde coffee ale and shoots it up to another level with the addition of pumpkin to make it a great fall drinking companion. They have this available on draft only, but I’ve seen it at a few different accounts around town, so keep your eyes peeled and you should be able to get yourself a pint or two!
- Imperial Pumpkin Ale/ Harvest Ale – Returning again this year, this big pumpkin beer doesn’t pull any punches with it’s big fall flavors. It’s draft only (like most of the things on this list) so you’re going to have to make your way to the Woodburn taproom (or somewhere that snagged a keg of it) to get some for yourself!