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The Northerner

All Hail The Pumpking

Kevin Ward

Kevin Ward

Kevin Ward, Contributing Writer

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The weather is getting cooler, football season is underway and now fall beers have hit the shelves. Any avid beer drinker will tell you that the fall season begins when bars begin to carry a variety of pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest lagers. The beers I will examine will put Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors to shame. I decided to check out some of the top fall beers and give a little insight to those of you who are yearning to bless your palate with the holy sacrament.

First on my list is the very popular Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Though they are based in Boston, one of the biggest Sam Adams breweries is in Cincinnati, so I count this as a local beer. Octoberfest is an adaptation of a Bavarian Marzen made with five different malts that gives off a rich caramel flavor. This beer is great for those who are interested in trying a beer that actually has some flavor, I’m talking to you Mr. light beer drinker. Octoberfest is heavy in flavor but still not overpowering and that is why it is a popular choice of the fall season.
Octoberfest is available at most convenience stores for $8.99/6pk. I give Sam Adams Octoberfest a 8/10 rating.

The next Oktoberfest beer to make it on my top list is Schlafly’s Oktoberfest. The Schlafly brewery may sit in the shadow of fellow St. Louis brewery Anheuser-Busch, but there is no doubt that they produce a much better beer than the evil empire. Oktoberfest is made with hops grown in Bavaria, which gives it more of a piney bitterness. Schlafly credits their unique taste to their use of water from the Missouri River. St. Louis’ water was named the best tap water in America in 2007 by the U.S. government’s water quality experts. Whether you want to attribute Oktoberfest’s great taste to the water or the American twist on a German beer recipe, there is no doubt that this lager stands out over its competition.

Oktoberfest is available at places like the Party Source in Newport, Ky. or Party Town in Florence, Ky. for $9.99/6pk. I give this beer a 8.5/10 rating.

If you are going to list off the best beers of fall, it would be a crime to not include arguably the best craft brewery on the planet in Dogfish Head. Dogfish’s fall seasonal is called Punkin Ale and it is another great installment from such a successful craft brewery. On top of the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice used in most pumpkin beers, Punkin Ale adds a hefty portion of brown sugar to add extra sweetness to an already well spiced ale. What makes this beer even better is that it has very limited availability. It hits stores in September and is usually gone by Halloween. Do yourself a favor and grab a four pack before it’s too late.

Punkin Ale is available at places like the Party Source and Party Town for $9.99/4pk. I give Punkin Ale the bronze medal and a 9/10 rating.

Another local beer ranks among my top fall choices and that is Rivertown’s Pumpkin Ale. To say this beer has a rich taste is a vast understatement. What sets this beer apart from other pumpkin ales is that it is made with pumpkin molasses. Combine that with the powerful doses of nutmeg and cinnamon and you get a very sweet tasting beer.

Rivertown’s Pumpkin Ale and all of their other great locally made brews are available at most local liquor stores for $8.99/6pk. I give this amazing, local beer the silver medal and rate it 9.5/10.
If you are searching for a meaning to life and have often wondered if there is something greater out there, then you need no longer worry. Our friends at Southern Tier have the answers to all of life’s mysteries and they have found a way to bottle them in the form of an 8.6 percent alcohol-by-volume liquid from God. I am talking about the single greatest pumpkin beer ever made. It truly lives up to its name, and that is Pumpking. This imperial pumpkin ale is essentially a highly alcoholic liquefied pumpkin pie. It is made with a caramel malt and pumpkin puree to create a sweet finish. If you do not try Pumpking this fall, than you are cheating yourself out of something wonderful.

Pumpking is available for a very limited time for $8.99/22oz. You can get bottles of it at the Party Source and Party Town, which also sells it in growlers on tap. I award Pumpking with the gold medal and a 10/10 rating.

I encourage all of you to go out and try some new beers this fall. There are several Oktoberfest lagers and pumpkin ales that are available. As someone who is an avid beer fan, I can tell you that fall is the best time of year to find great beers.

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All Hail The Pumpking