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5 Reasons to Pick Pumpkin Beer

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
BeerAdvocate rating: C
RateBeer Rating: 35 of 100

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
BeerAdvocate rating: B
RateBeer Rating: 88 of 100
There are two big complaints about Pumpkinhead: Those who love it tend to have a hard time finding it, and those who hate it feel it tastes of a whole lot of cinnamon and fizz but little to no pumpkin.

For the former who like their malted beverages a little bubbly and spicy, Shipyard started brewing Pumpkinhead in July and won't stop until November. That's great news for casual pumpkin ale drinkers who are big fans of Blue Moon-style wheat beer in the summer, but like a pumpkin ale with sugar and cinnamon around the rim of the glass in winter.

For the latter, the 5.1% ABV Pumpkinhead is going to bear little to no resemblance to the mortar-and-pestle pumpkin concoction Pugsley first made in a brewpub kitchen more than 15 years ago. These folks might want to go with a foil-wrapped 22-ounce bomber of the bigger 9% ABV Smashed Pumpkin. It has far more kick than Pumpkinhead, a much more balanced blend of spices, a subtle touch of hops and the overall flavor of spiked pumpkin pie.

"Unlike Pumpkinhead, this is a sit-down, sip-by-the-fire type of beer," Pugsley says. "I almost liken it to a port as a fun, nice after-dinner type drink."

While a $9 to $10 sixer Pumpkinhead would go just fine with candy corn and fun-sized Snickers, Shipyard suggests pairing a similarly priced bottle of Smashed Pumpkin with sharp cheeses, nuts, flan or pumpkin pie. Cooking with it isn't out of the question, either.

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