Pumpkick, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle

ABV: 6 percent

Malty? Hoppy? Neither; more pumpkin pie-like than anything.

Reviewed: September 2014

Fall has arrived. Sure, afternoon temperatures still occasionally rise toward 90 degrees—but the leaves are changing, evenings are cooler, and liquor store shelves are stocked with one of my favorite seasonal brews: pumpkin ales. A beer-loving friend introduced me to pumpkin brews when I moved to Colorado seven years ago. Ever since, I’ve looked forward to pairing fall evenings and a beer spiked with pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg spices. Oddly enough, I’m not a big pumpkin pie fan, but there’s something about those fall flavors that work well alongside the bitterness of an ale.

New Belgium first brewed this seasonal pumpkin ale, which it calls Pumpkick, last year. The medium-body ale smells as you’d expect, like a freshly-baked pumpkin pie straight out of the oven. The flavor, however, has a twist. New Belgium’s Pumpkick recipe includes cranberry juice (an ode to cranberry sauce, a Thanksgiving dinner staple, perhaps), and lemongrass. The cranberry juice dominates the taste of Pumpkick, adding perhaps a slight tartness to the beer—a subtle, but unique spin on the style. Bottom line is, if you like pumpkin beers, you’ll enjoy pumpkick.

Would we buy it again? We’ve picked up a sixer the past two years. Although there are so many pumpkin beers to choose from each fall, we tend to mix up our selection before reaching for a second sixer.