It’s pumpkin season! And with pumpkins… you get pumpkin beers! One of my favorite things about fall. But all pumpkin ales are not created equal…some are good and some are not. I have taste tested a lot of pumpkin ales over the past few years and I have picked out my favorites. I’ll be sharing some of my top picks this month.
Wolaver’s Fine Organic Ales are made in Vermont by Otter Creek Brewing Company. Dan and I went on vacation to Vermont a few years ago and visited the brewery. It’s a great stop if you’re in the area and it’s also pretty close to Magic Hat, so you can check out both breweries in one afternoon.
Wolaver’s is a great pumpkin beer. It’s made with plenty of organic Vermont pumpkins and a few spices reminiscent of pumpkin pie. It’s not loaded with spices (as some of them are) making it easy to drink. Sometimes flavored beers are a little over powering and I often think “it’s good, I could drink one, but I wouldn’t want to drink it all night.” The Wolaver’s is NOT like that, it doesn’t have the overly-spiced problem. I would definitely have more than one!
I think this brewery just changed the look of their labels and the names of some of the beers. I have had Wolaver’s pumpkin ale before but it was called Wolaver’s Will Steven’s Pumpkin Ale. It had a darker label with some retro writing on it. I don’t remember it being as good as the current ale so they may have changed the recipe as well. I’m not totally sure about this change but I haven’t seen the old brew around at all and this pumpkin ale seems totally new to me.
I actually decided to try to use this ale in a recipe tonight. I was making braised red cabbage with apples. I thought it needed a little something extra so I decided to add some of the pumpkin beer in the pot as the braising liquid. It came out really good! It was a great fall side dish… look for the recipe tomorrow.
A few weeks ago I commented on the Braaaiiins pumpkin beer from Spring House Brewery. While their version is good, it has a little of that overly-spiced problem. I don’t think I really realized it that much until now that I have had the Wolaver’s. I think this is my second favorite pumpkin beer that I have taste tested… stay tuned for my number one pick.
In case you were wondering… that little birdie in the photo is my new bottle opener. It’s tail is the lever to pop your bottle top. You can find one of your own little birdies here.