Pennsylvania has been my home away from home for over a decade, and nothing gets me in the mood for fall and Halloween more than the amazing pumpkin craft beer offerings available. I’ve produced dozens of Weekend Philler Craft Corner spots and it’s been an honor and privilege to get to know so many brews and brewers personally. So here are some of my favorite Pennsylvania Pumpkins to make your spooky season a hit. With so many to choose from I’ve leaned on those I feel have greater distribution versus the ones that are harder to find, so in no particular order, here goes. Cheers!
Master of Pumpkins
Brewery: Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey, PA
What better place to start than with a brewer that’s been a PA staple since 1996 and a beer that is brewed with real Pennsylvania Pumpkins. Some, even many, local brewers will actually use canned pumpkin, but not Tröegs. This one starts with thousands of pounds of local PA pumpkins sliced, cleaned and roasted to make a top-notch beer. With hints of cinnamon, clove and ginger this is a pumpkin that screams fall. (7.5 abv).
Nightmare on East Elm Street
Brewery: Conshohocken Brewing Company, Conshohocken, PA
Brewed with honey, malt, spices and pumpkin purée our friends at Conshohocken Brewing bill this one as “pumpkin pie in a glass” and they truly hit the nail on the head. It’s exactly like pumpkin pie in a glass. The recommended pairing is “candy corn” and although I thought it was a joke at first, it’s actually a delicious sidecar to a flavorful brew! (5.8 abv).
Devious Imperial Pumpkin
Brewery: Fegley’s Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA.
For me, Fegley’s and holiday seasonal beers go hand in hand. Rude Elf Reserve has long been a Christmas favorite and this year Devious Imperial Pumpkin is having the same impact on Halloween. Located in Allentown and Bethlehem this family-run, urban-operated brewery has been a great part of the holidays in PA. This one comes in at 9% so please drink responsibly. (9.0 abv).
Trick or Treat
Brewery: Evil Genius Beer Company, Philadelphia, PA.
With a name like Evil Genius you just knew they would excel at Halloween beers! Speaking of names, Evil Genius is known for some of the best beer names in all of craft. Trick or Treat is typical of the fun these brewers like to have and they advertise the beer as “haunted.” Don’t know about the ghosts– but the nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and chocolate – yes, chocolate – make this dark roasted porter something not to miss. (7.8 abv).
Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Company
Weyerbacher calls this pumpkin brew “dangerously drinkable” and they are not wrong. Especially for an 8 percenter! For me this one is a little heartier than your average pumpkin beer. While some pumpkin offerings are gimmicky one-offs, for me, the Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a real beer I’d drink all year. It was a bronze winner at the Great American Beer Fest for a reason. (8.0 abv)
Baked Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA
This offering from our friends in Lancaster, PA is just as fun as it sounds. If you like your pumpkins sweet and reminiscent of something your grandmother baked, this one is absolutely for you. Lancaster has been brewing beer commercially for over 40 years and puts a lot of experience into every batch. (7.5abv)
Brewery: Iron Hill Brewery Exton, PA
Iron Hill was born in Delaware in the 1990s but has since branched out to locations all over PA. Each is known for consistently great beers and food. The Pumpkin Ale from Exton, PA is a light drinkable pumpkin that’s still packed with flavor but not as heavy in the alcohol percentage as some seasonal beer. (5.2 abv)
Brewery: Dancing Gnome Pittsburgh, PA
Okay, this one is a stretch! But it’s really my way of sneaking one of my favorite breweries in the western part of PA into the mix: Dancing Gnome. Dancing Gnome is a Pittsburgh craft beer favorite and the Pumpkinseed Fish is named for one of the most beautiful fish in the state and features citrus zest, lemongrass, clove, and fresh-baked banana bread. All that said, no pumpkins were harmed in the making of this ale.
Barrel-Aged “Nunkin” Ale
Brewery: East End Brewing Pittsburgh, PA
Brewers love a challenge and the challenge for this seasonal was to brew a “pumpkin ale” with no pumpkin! Using spices and bourbon aged barrels East End magnificently pulls off this pumpkin-less pumpkin. (6.8 abv)
Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale for Zombies
Brewery: Spring House Brewing Company, Lancaster PA
This is another beer brewed with fresh pumpkin blended into the mash. It’s got hints of vanilla and spices that are staples of pumpkin beers but a crisp finish that makes it memorable. Spring House Brewing is basically Halloween all year round as they’ve got plenty of scary titles like Big Gruesome, She Monster and Satan’s Bake Sale, to make your Halloween party a monster smash! (7.1 abv)
Pumking Imperial Ale and Warlock Imperial Stout
Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing, Pittsburgh, PA
Saved the best for last as Pumking, for me, is as advertised. Truly the king of pumpkin beers year in and year out. Throwing in the Warlock sister stout that’s a darker version of this seasonal favorite that’s equally impressive. With hints of vanilla, allspice, and cinnamon these bold pumpkin offerings are the pumpkin pace car year in and year out. And what’s better, this award winner that originated in NY is now also brewed in the great state of PA as well. (8.6 abv)
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed compiling it. I’ve been a craft beer nerd since I covered my first Beerfest in 2009, but of course, this list is just one beer guy’s opinion. Part of the fun of craft brewing is hearing what others think, so, by all means, hit me up and let me know some of your favorites as well.