Illustration by Brittany Dexter
When the leaves turn and that crisp morning air returns, beer lovers know it’s time for a favorite seasonal: pumpkin ale. Recipes vary between brewers—some simply add pumpkin flavoring and spices like cinnamon and brown sugar, but the best use real hand-cut pumpkins. The resulting beers range from sweet to spicy to a roasted taste of fall. One of the best of the style is Dexter, Michigan–based Jolly Pumpkin’s La Parcela, which uses real pumpkin and cacao, resulting in an understated blend of spices that is more savory than sweet. A number of local brewers are getting into the action with different approaches. Rock Bottom Brewery’s Monster Mash Pumpkin Ale is a barely-sweet, mild beer served on tap every October (it’s a Halloween tradition for some). Rivertown Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale, meanwhile, is sweet enough to be pumpkin pie in liquid form. Pass the whipped cream.
Rivertown Brewing Company
607 Shepherd Dr., Unit 6
Rock Bottom Brewery
10 Fountain Sq.
95 Riviera Dr.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue.