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10 Pumpkin Beers You're Seeing Before Labor Day and Why

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
Released: Late July

It's frightening to see this headless horseman riding into New England shops and pubs before August even hits, but this beer has a strong regional following that wouldn't mind seeing it happen year-round.

It's a tremendous gateway pumpkin ale that's light, fizzy and loaded with cinnamon -- with some New England pubs even putting sugar and cinnamon around the rim of glasses containing it. The 5.1% ABV Pumpkinhead bears little to no resemblance to the mortar-and-pestle pumpkin concoction that Shipyard founder Alan Pugsley first made in a brewpub kitchen more than 15 years ago, but Pugsley has long since ceased trying to make it so.

Pumpkin purists might be more at home with a foil-wrapped 22-ounce bomber of the bigger 9% ABV Smashed Pumpkin, which has far more kick than Pumpkinhead, a much more balanced blend of spices and a subtle touch of hops. Those who love Pumpkinhead in its current form, however, may wonder who spiked their pumpkin pie.

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