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We’re Back, Witches!

And Warlocks, of course.

After a necessary hiatus last year to concentrate on budding and growing the newest two mini-pumpkins (see the gourd-geous little chaps pictured), we’re back for the 2017 season to drink along with you from summer to winter through the bountiful harvest of seasonal offerings. Pumpkin beer season is coming, f*ck yeah!

Over the past 5 years we’ve reviewed literally hundreds of pumpkin beers from across the country and beyond, in our 61 beers in 61 days format. But since we started this quest, the pumpkin beer scene has exploded like our waistlines after trick-or-treating. So this year, we’ll mostly be concentrating on new offerings, and some old favorites or favor-hates you won’t want to miss*. We’ll be putting up new reviews and telling you what brews to skip, and which to skip to the store for. Plus, we’d love to hear any suggestions you guys have on brews you’d like to see us try (good or bad…hey, the garbage fire ones are often super fun to review!). Remember – ciders are valid too!

To get a jump into the 2017 season and give you some ideas of great beers to keep an eye out for in the suddenly very orangey beer aisle at your local bottle shop, below are each of our Top 10 favorites of past seasons, listed in no particular order of preference but based on those we loved, found memorable, and that should likely be available this year. As usual, we kept our picks separate, so we don’t know what the other picked…enjoy the harmony/discord!

Nicola’s Top 10 for 2017

  • Schlafly Pumpkin – Shlafly Beer, St. Louis, MO.
  • Dark O’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout – Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
  • Whole Hog Pumpkin – Steven’s Point Brewery, Steven’s Point, WI
  • Great’ER Pumpkin – Heavy Seas, Halethorpe, MD
  • Slumkin Pumpkin – Somerville Brewing Co. (Slumbrew), Somerville, MA
  • Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale – Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, Akron, OH
  • Master of Pumpkins – Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey, PA
  • Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout – Cape Ann Brewing Co., Gloucester, MA
  • Pumpkin Blend – Downeast Craft Cider, Charlestown, MA
  • Pumpkin Crop Lager – Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers, Framingham, MA

Alex’s Top 10 for 2017

  • Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout – Cape Ann Brewing Co., Gloucester, MA
  • Punkin’ Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
  • Pumpkin Blend – Downeast Craft Cider, Charlestown, MA
  • Dark O’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout – Elysian Brewing, Seattle, WA
  • Pumpkin Ale – Schlafly Beer, St. Louis, MO
  • Slumkin Pumpkin – Somerville Brewing Co. (Slumbrew), Somerville, MA
  • Warlock – Southern Tier Brewing Co., Lakewood, NY
  • Whole Hog Pumpkin – Steven’s Point Brewery, Steven’s Point, MI
  • Imperial Pumpkin – Weyerbacher Brewing Co., Easton, PA
  • Pompoen Red Sour Ale – Wicked Weed Brewing, Asheville, NC

And a bonus, throwback special beer we both WISH was available this year:

He Said Pumpkin Baltic Porter – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA) and Elysian Brewing (Seattle, WA) collaboration, also packaged with He Said Pumpkin Tripel. This double-pack collaboration of two styles was simply PERFECT. We’ll be bugging them to bring it back in the future!

*More details on this year’s format will be updated in a mini-blog and on our website closer to the start of the season.

Happy drinkin’, til Halloween!

Nicola and Alex, @RateMyPumpkins

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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


Ballast Point Brewing – Pumpkin Down (2015)

Up first, Adam’s guest review of Pumpkin Down:

Aroma: Very light, nothing pungent. Medicinal (stirring memories of Robitussin from childhood).

Appearance: Pours like a flat cola. Very few bubbles. Light, caramel color.

Taste: Very strong front taste, hints of pumpkin pie spice in the middle, back a bit metallic, but doesn’t linger – increasing bitterness with each sip

Mouthfeel: Akin to the appearance, a lot like a flat cola. Doesn’t really commit to one kind of feeling. Slightly like a mouthwash.

Pumpkin: None of the usual sweetness. Spicy and bitter.

Ingredients: A little bit of ginger as well, black pepper, honey, cardamom, slightly plumy.


Full disclosure, I am not one drawn to pumpkin beer in general. I appreciate that this beer is not sweet, but it does not turn me into a believer, either.

Score (100): 78

Up second, Michael’s guest review of Pumpkin Down:

Vanilla, caramel aroma that is sweeter than its taste. Reddish-brown hue. Mostly well-balanced flavor. Not a sugar bomb. Not a spice overload. Not watery in taste, but slightly so in texture. Mouthfeel lacks desired richness. Limited real pumpkin flavor. Fall spices of cinnamon and cloves come to the fore. Medium length finish of the same fall spices.

In short, a solid pumpkin beer that is far from offensive and mostly balanced and tasty. But “tasty” never changed the world and this critic wants his mind blown. 82/100

And now, my take:

When you’re known for show-stopping IPAs, what’s the next world to conquer? The murky, no-brewer’s land of pumpkin beer, where some fear to tred and others just plain give zero effs and don’t bother to think twice about not going to. Ballast Point, with no need to prove their quality, take a winning approach of using a tried and true recipe for Piper Down, a caramel and toffee based Scottish Ale, and add brazen roasted pumpkin to it creating a nuanced new addition to the pumpkin ale line-up. Pouring a subtle cognac hue with no retention, a swirl of caramel, slight cinnamon, and pipe-like smokiness. This malt-forward style hits with ribbons of caramel, layers of toffee, and a toasted pumpkin in an au natural vegetal state. What starts as a solid savory ale slowly sweetens with warmth and releases a noticeable clove edge making this light-bodied pumpkin into something I would gladly pair with my Thanksgiving vegetables.

A Scottish Ale that already had impressive credentials and merely added a second masters degree with pumpkin because there’s no better time to one-up yourself than when you have nothing to prove. 87/100


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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Tap Brewing Co. – Pumpkin Eater (2014)

NicAA: Clear caramel with a bubbly, sticky head. Rich aroma of light spices and a subtle “pie crust” maltiness. 9/10

NicTM: Soft, medium bodied and lower carbonation. Creamy sweet pumpkin, malty graham cracker crust and subtle fall spice. 9/10

NicP: Pumpkins harvested from 3 miles from the brewpub? You better believe they’re sugary, fresh, and crazy good! 5p

NicO: Traditional, pie-like but not heavy. The Superman of pumpkin beers, it might not be the most enigmatic superhero, but it’s rock solid. 88/100

The Tap Brewing Co Pumpkin Eater
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


Pumpkin PARTY! Join us today, at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA!

Hey all, busy today? Got to get that one last lawn mow in before the end of the season? Laundry to do? Gotta shop for a new leaf blower?

Well that all sounds mighty dull. Why not join us instead? We’ll be at the Craft Beer Cellar “Mothership” in Belmont, MA today pouring beers (we’ll be pouring between 3 and 5) and chatting pumpkin and all things craft beer, fall, and festive. Missed us last year? We had a blast, see? This is Alex, all happy like…

Alex CBC

Craft Beer Cellar’s Okto-Pumpkin Kashizalapooza is where it’s at today! Here are the details:

“Do you remember how, during that stretch of what seemed like forty, 90+ degree summer days, everyone was thinking, “I could really go for a tall glass of Pumpkin Beer right now.”? Yeah. Neither do we. Earlier this summer, the Craft Beer Cellar family decided enough was enough. We wanted #SummerForever (still do, really), and it was in that vein that we decided no pumpkin, fall harvest, or Oktoberfest beer would touch our shelves until September 1st. We took a stand, and you’ve supported us every step of the way. Thank you; now it’s party time. Join us on Saturday, September 6th from 1 to 7pm for a celebration of all things fall. We’ll have food, fun, pumpkin/Oktoberfest/fall harvest beer tastings, costumes (yes, you can wear yours from last Halloween), COLORING BOOKS!!!, giveaways, dancing, and more surprises to be announced. Now taking playlist suggestions. Madluv.”

Craft Beer Cellar Belmont, 51 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02478 (map)

See you there?

Nic and Alex, @RateMyPumpkins


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Posted by on September 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


We’re Back!

Well hello there!

Lovely to see you. Labor day has been and gone, and we hope you have had a wonderful summer and year thus far. Sadly the summer is waning, and fall weather will soon be upon us. But don’t despair, we have another season of reviews, just for you! Won’t you grab a pumpkin beer and drink along with us?

A few updates now we’ve brushed away the cobwebs and taken the lock off the pumpkin beer fridge. First off, we’re sticking with our four category rating system (see our page “Rating System” for a reminder), but for Twitter, we are streamlining the reviews a little to two tweets each, a flavor/aroma/appearance category, and an overall summary. Long form “classic” reviews will be appearing here, and on our Facebook page.

beer fridge 324631_353121288104367_695738468_o Secondly, why not come and meet us at  the Craft Beer Cellar “Mothership” CBC Belmont on Saturday, Sept 6th? We’ll be pouring some faves, chatting pumpkin and all things craft beer and generally having a fun ol’ time. We’ll be the sassy chick with the loud laugh and the awkward British chick. I believe there will also be other beers to try, games and potentially fall-themed coloring competitions. What’s not to love?

Finally, y’all are great. But then that’s not really news is it. 🙂

Love, gourds and all things ghoolie,

Nic and Alex, @RateMyPumpkins.

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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized