Fall has graced Denver with its presence: The air is crisper, leaves are putting on a brilliant show throughout the Front Range, and… pumpkin beer is flowing through Denver taps. If we could make our own pumpkin-beer flight, these 10 would be it.
1. Denver Beer Co: This Riverfront staple offers three varieties. The Hey! Pumpkin, at 5.4 percent ABV and with a light pumpkin taste, is an easy-to-drink take on the seasonal flavor. If you’re in the mood for something a little heftier, try DBC’s Pumpkin Porter, which has a fresh-picked pumpkin, earthy sweetness. And then there’s the King of Jacks (an imperial pumpkin ale that rings in at 9.8 percent), which smells as sweet as it tastes.
2. De Steeg Brewing: This small-batch Imperial Pumpkin is all about simplicity. Flavored by just brown sugar and pumpkin, meaning its not overly sweet. Instead, the natural sugars and flavor shine in this 11 percent ABV beer.
3. Epic Brewing Company: The Fermentation Without Representation imperial pumpkin porter (7.9 percent ABV) delivers delightful hops with subtle hints of pumpkin serving as a satisfying afterthought. The subtlety makes this a perfect brew for anyone wary of the pumpkin craze.
4. Copper Kettle Brewing Co: Starting out with a robust and strong flavor punch, the Imperial Pumpkin Porter (7.3 percent ABV) mellows out with a candy-corn sweet pumpkin flavor. Don’t miss the weekly house-made dessert and pumpkin-themed small-batch beer pairings, happening every Wednesday throughout October.
5. Wynkoop Brewing Company: The LoDo watering hole’s annual pumpkin beer is a pumpkin-infused brown ale, seasoned with special secret spices. Wynkoop cans and distributes the Pumpkin Ale, so you can grab a taste of fall during happy hour and then take some home for later.
6. Lost Highway Brewery Company: A brand new addition to Denver’s brewery scene, Lost Highway opened its doors September 26 and introduced its Pumpkin Ale shortly after. At 6 percent ABV, the brew uses more than 70 pounds of pumpkin meat, and is seasoned with traditional pumpkin pie spices.
7. Strange Craft Beer Company: Four hundred and fifty pounds of pumpkin went into Strange Craft’s Pumpkin Porter. At 5.8 percent ABV, it tastes and feels like a porter—strong with notes of dark chocolate, sweet toffee, and a slight acidity. The pumpkin doesn’t smack you in the face; it quietly invites itself into the drink and lingers at the finish. Those still wary of pumpkin beer can try a 10 oz. glass for just $3.
8. Fiction Beer Company: Another new face in Denver, Fiction’s Autumn Stars (6.4 percent ABV) is a fine fall medley of flavors: pumpkin, Japanese pumpkin, butternut squash, and acorn squash flavor this delightfully autumnal Belgian farmhouse ale. The pumpkin is sneaky: founder and co-owner Ryan Kilpatrick says if it’s the first drink of the night, you’ll taste it. After beer two or three, you might miss it altogether. But don’t miss the bookshelves filled with novels in the tasting room or the bar made entirely out of books.
9. Our Mutual Friend Brewing: The Pumpkin Ale (7 percent ABV) is neither hoppy nor strong. The sweet and mild ale combines brown sugar and malt flavors, along with pumpkin and traditional pumpkin pie spices to create a pleasing fall brew.
10. Dry Dock Brewing Co.: In the first week of release, both the Half Moon Pumpkin Ale (5.5percent ABV) and the Imperial Pumpkin Ale (9 percent ABV) outsold Dry Dock’s famous Apricot Blonde. Because of its popularity in the first few weeks, bartender Mike Webster says, “hopefully it makes it to Halloween.” The Imperial is strong and sweet, an alcoholic pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream on top. The Half Moon is laid-back and casual: the earthy pumpkin flavor mixed with traditional pumpkin pie spices creates a spicy finish. Find the beers at either of Dry Dock’s tasting rooms or use the beer locator online.