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10 Best Pumpkin Beers Available Before Fall

AleWerks Pumpkin Ale 

BeerAdvocate rating: 92 of 100
RateBeer rating: 96 of 100
Roller coasters and Colonial-era re-enactors usually get top billing in this neck of the woods, but Williamsburg, Va.'s pumpkin ale steals the show around this time of year.

Williamsburg's AleWerks, like Southern Tier, masks its Pumpkin Ale's 7.3% ABV well behind cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and just a hint of pumpkin. More a spiced beer than a pure pumpkin ale, AleWerks' brew goes for a warm pumpkin pie flavor without burning drinkers with an alcoholic, imperial punch. It's a bit of a tough find outside of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and D.C., but like that one Snickers hiding in a pillowcase full of peanut chews, it's worth digging around for.

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale 

BeerAdvocate rating: 92 of 100
RateBeer rating: 96 of 100
Anheuser Busch makes a fine pumpkin beer in Michelob Jack's Pumpkin Ale, but a smaller St. Louis neighbor is the one setting the bar.  

The first step toward finding a great pumpkin ale is deciding whether you love pumpkin-flavore ale or pumpkin pie in a bottle. If it's the latter, Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale is the closest to home-baked flavor you'll find in the beer aisle. Nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, clove and vanilla are all front and center, but don't overpower the pumpkin or even pumpkin-saturated-crust flavor.  

It's available in six packs, but be careful. At 8% ABV, it's much stronger than supermarket pumpkin pie and isn't the brew to swig between apple-bobbing sessions.

Elysian Great Pumpkin Ale 

BeerAdvocate rating: 93 of 100
RateBeer rating: 96 of 100
If you're going to make the best pumpkin ale in the land, no pumpkin should be spared in the process.

Seattle's Elysian Brewing goes heavy on the malt and light on the hops in its 8.1% ABV imperial pumpkin ale, but it's the mash that makes Great Pumpkin a must-have. Elysian roasts pumpkin seeds and throws them into the mash. It also adds pumpkin into the ingredient mash, into the kettle during the brewing process and then into the fermenter for added effect.

Throw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and you have the standard for what every pure pumpkin ale should taste like. Linus, your wait wasn't in vain.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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