Pumpkin Beers: Roasted & Savory

Beer, Beer & Cocktails, Drink

This post comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma associate and beer enthusiast Dennis Ayles.


The pumpkin beer tasting continues! When I began reviewing some of this year’s pumpkin brews, I found the tasting profiles fell into three categories: sweet as pumpkin pie; roasted and a bit savory; and lastly, eggnog, move over.


Check out my reviews of the “sweet as pie” beers here, then keep reading below for my top picks in the second category — roasted and savory.


Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin AleImmediately after pouring this ale, I could tell it was going to be different from the other pumpkin beers I had tasted. Initially I thought this one was going to lack taste, since the nose wasn’t very strong. Luckily, that wasn’t true. This amber beer wasn’t overpowered with spices but had a subtle roasted taste with great weight as it rolled over the tongue, finishing slightly bitter.






Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin PorterWhat a great idea this was! Seeing only ales and lagers out there, I quickly grabbed this porter to taste — and I’m glad I did. On the initial pour I couldn’t detect any spices, but as I drank it, I began to smell them slightly. What I loved about this one was how the pumpkin wasn’t “in your face.” The initial flavors were of roasted malts and chocolate, as you’d expect in a porter, but it finished with a quiet roasted pumpkin taste. The slower you sipped this beer, the better it became.





Tommyknocker Brewery Small Batch Pumpkin Harvest AleThis beer poured the darkest of all the ales I tried, as was evident in the beige head. Molasses was the the most predominant ingredient, but it allowed for a nice burnt crust aroma. At the beginning I couldn’t get past the molasses, but as I continued to drink, a nice roasted pumpkin taste began to emerge and made for a very pleasant experience.

Cisco Brewers Pumple DrumkinThe deep orange hue of this beer matches the season and flavors perfectly. Instead of featuring the overpowering tastes of pumpkin pie, this brew left you with a nice roasted pumpkin flavor, accented with a hint of piecrust.








Dogfish Head Punkin AleNo pumpkin beer list would be complete without this brew, one of the most sought-after each year. This was the first beer Dogfish Head ever produced; founder Sam Calagione entered it in the Punkin Chunkin recipe contest in 1994 and won first prize. I truly enjoyed this beer, since it really showcased the pumpkin and added just enough spice so it didn’t taste like pumpkin pie. I understand all the craze around this beer. If you want to try it, run out now — they try to produce enough to last until Thanksgiving, but it usually disappears by Halloween.


About the author: Dennis Ayles, from Inventory Management, is our resident beer expert here at Williams-Sonoma. He keeps everyone up to speed on the latest trends, his favorite brews and what we should be drinking.

9 comments about “Pumpkin Beers: Roasted & Savory

  1. Warren Schultz

    Is the Dogfish Ale the one they serve at Eataly’s Beer Garden? Whatever it is, it’s delicious!

  2. Barbara weltzien

    You need to try Weyerbacker Imperial Pumpkin Ale if you haven’t already. Yum

  3. Jack Mayhoffer

    I agree about Weyerbacker but there is no equal to Dogfish Punkin. Yes I am pretty sure it is the one served at Eataly, it is delicious!

  4. Dennis Ayles

    @Barbara take a look at “sweet as pie” pumpkin beer posts (link is up above) the Weyerbacher was one of my favorites. @Josh, stay tuned you just may see some info on Southern tier in the last of the pumpkin series posts

  5. Pumpkin Beers: Eggnog, Move Over

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