The Dark Side of Pumpkin Beer: 8 to Try

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Pumpkin beer’s not all sugar and spice: There’s a faction of fall brews that depend as much on sinister roasty malts as they do on gourd meat and cinnamon. Go on over to the dark side and search for these sultry seasonals.

Avery Pump[KY]n: This barrel-aged beaut wins the biggest pumpkin (beer) contest, topping out at about 17% ABV. A beastly spiced porter aged 6 months in bourbon barrels (there’s the “KY”!), the beer’s a sibling of Avery’s Rumpkin (a pumpkin ale aged in rum barrels) and the newest addition to the brewery’s Barrel Series. Huge additions of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves are joined by alcohol spice and offset by chocolate and toffee malts and vanilla-bourbon sweetness.

RedHook Out of Your Gourd: Nearly sessionable at 5.8% ABV, this pumpkin porter reads cola-like with just a smidge of dry pumpkin juice in the middle and earthy maple in the finish.

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