The Divisive Pumpkin Ale
on 11/10/11 at 1:45 pmBeer
Some beer styles are loved, some are ardently despised, but none is more divisive than pumpkin ales. Those who love them wait all year for their seasonal release; others can’t even broach the subject without foaming at the mouth. “I hate pumpkin beers,” wrote my friend and Washington City Paper beer writer Orr Stuhl. “Even picking a ‘favorite’ — say, Dogfish Head’s — is like picking a favorite airborne illness.”
And yet, every fall, dozens of breweries roll them out, often loaded up with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger — and beer lovers drink them up. And there are more and more every year: this year Shipyard, a brewery in Portland, Maine, plans to make some 400,000 cases of their Pumpkinhead ale — by far the largest volume of any beer it produces, even the ones made year round. Like most breweries, Shipyard will stop brewing Pumpkinhead around Halloween — meaning that by November, the last of the pumpkin beers, like the gourds themselves, will be on sale and then gone.