WWBG: It's Never Too Early To Enjoy Pumpkin Beer

This column was written by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer customer Garrett Cruce. Follow his beer travels on Instagram.
Last year, I noticed pumpkin beers popping up in the height of summer. It made for some funny photos (“Ha ha, look at my fall seasonal in 100 degree weather”). But here we are, a year later and there are once again pumpkin beers everywhere you look.
The Washington City Paper just published a very timely explanation of the appearance of this fall seasonal out of season. It’s a must-read. Basically, there are a few why reasons fall beers hit store shelves in late summer. As it turns out, pumpkin beers are probably not going to release any later going forward.
So, let’s enjoy them while we can — Oktoberfest is just around the corner! Let’s take a look at five less-known pumpkin beers that are worth savoring, even in early September:
Jacques Au Lantern by Evolution Craft Brewing Co. (Salisbury, MD.) 6.3% ABV
The aroma is spicy, tropical fruit — typical of the Belgian yeast used in this ale — with pureed pumpkin. The corresponding spicy flavor, which also comes from the yeast, is bolstered by the spices used in the brewing. The flavor finishes with a fruitiness, like apple cider, that enhances the fall feeling. It’s light enough to enjoy now.
Pumple Drumkin Ale by Cisco BrewersPumple Drumkin Ale by Cisco Brewers (Nantucket, MA) 6.0% ABV
Beers from Cisco Brewers can be hard to find, but they are worth the effort. Pumple Drumkin has a pumpkin-heavy aroma, but once you take a sip, it’s all clean hop bitterness. The flavor is so clean that this ale almost tastes like a lager. Like the Jacques Au Lantern, you can enjoy this in warmer weather without feeling like you’re faking fall.
DuClaw Brewing Co. “31″ Spiced Pumpkin Lager (Baltimore, MD) 5.7% ABV
This tasty local brew has the malty nuttiness of a German lager up front, but finishes with pureed pumpkin. The spice is subtle in this one, so you don’t necessarily feel like you’re drinking a pie. This is another great transition to fall seasonals that won’t overwhelm with its spice.
Uinta Brewing Co. Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale (Salt Lake City, UT) 5.0% ABV
Uinta’s beers are really getting around! This seasonal is one I had only seen pictures of in previous years, but now it’s available here. The pumpkin pie spice is all in the aroma, which is fine because the flavor is of a slightly sweet and barely bitter ale. There is a hint of pumpkin, which comes across as a light accent. Drink this one now, or when the leaves have changed color.
St. Ambroise (McAuslan) The Great Pumpkin AleSt. Ambroise (McAuslan) The Great Pumpkin Ale (Montreal, Canada) 5.0% ABV
Canadian craft beers aren’t as easy to come by in the U.S. as they should be. I have a feeling that is changing. This newly available pumpkin ale has an aroma of biscuit and caramel. The flavor continues that theme, with lightly spiced pumpkin that lingers into the finish. The overall impression of this beer is that it’s smooth and creamy — a nice fall session beer.