The Great Pumpkin Beer Taste Test

Posted on October 28th, 2010

Click to Embiggen Every fall countless pumpkin beers are released. With all the beers out there to choose from it can be tough to know which one to enjoy. To solve this problem last week the Beeriety crew conducted a blind taste test of 16 popular pumpkin beers. We were hoping to see what beer would emerge as the group favorite when labels, brands and preconceptions were removed. We had a blast, and learned a lot about pumpkin beer in the process. We gathered a mix of major craft beers (Dogfish Head, Brooklyn) Local favorites (Opa-Opa, Cisco) and macro brewery selections (Blue Moon, Jack’s Pumpkin Spice from Anheuser-Busch.) The 16 brews we came up with are by no means the definitive list of pumpkin beer, it’s just what we could get our hands on around our home base in Boston. With the help of Challonge.com, the 16 beers were randomly organized into a bracket of 8 pairs. We then evaluated each pair by sampling the beers side by side in unmarked cups poured by our MC for the evening Sarah. A vote was taken, and the winner of each round moved on the next round, where it would be paired against the other winners from the previous round. This process was repeated until we were left with just one beer, Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale. For the most part the process worked very well. Keeping the identity of the beers a secret from everyone but Sarah made things a little more difficult, but it was well worth it as our votes weren’t affected by any preconceived notions about a brewery or beer. One should keep in mind that a small sample of beer is going to come across very different than a full pint. Also, the temperature of the beers inevitably changed through the course of the night which can have a strong influence on a brew’s taste. This is by no means the final word on what the best pumpkin beer is, just a list of what we liked the most. It was a lot of fun and something we’ll definitely be trying again in the future with other styles. We highly recommend hosting a similar event yourself. Check the bracket for full results (Winners are in orange.) Surprised by any of the outcomes? Let us know in the comments!

  • Weyerbacher Imperial is my favorite of the one’s that I’ve tried in your bracket. southern tier is too sweet and dogfish seems like it’s lacking something. the pumpkin stout looks interesting – I’ve been meaning to try that. i like the fact that you approached the taste test blind. interesting.

  • thebrowngoblet

    The Weyenbacher was also my favorite. It had a genuine pumpkin flavor. The Dogfish Head was lacking in malt and pumpkin flavor, it was mostly fragrant (because of the hops) and spicey.

    But I could be biased because I got a growler of the Weyenbacher filled from a tap and the Dogfish Head came from bottles.

  • Great bracket!! I think you missed Schlafly Pumpkin tho.

  • Haven’t tried that one. Not sure that I’ve seen it around here but I will keep my eyes pealed.. If I see it I will pick it up. Originally we had about 20 different pumpkin beers but had to cut it back for sake of sobriety.

  • Thanks! Schlafly actually lost in the first round to Saranac..,

  • Schlafly actually lost in the first round to Saranac..,

  • Glad you enjoyed guys, the Weyerbacher’s not bad, but when you’re comparing to another mystery beer we got some surprising results.

  • Neal

    Where’s Shipyard Pumpkinhead? That’s the best one out there!

  • Alicia

    We actually couldn’t find it when we were getting ready for this. We heard there was a shortage of it in our area.