Midwest's Best: Pumpkin Beers September 24 2013

In our Midwest's Best series, we'll run down some of our favorite things in certain categories from across the Midwest. For today's post we start with a rundown of our founder's favorite Midwestern pumpkin beers. 

Pumpkin beer season is one I look forward to every single year. Every year it seems like the number of pumpkin beers expands, so it's helpful to have a guide to navigating the style, avoiding the bad and sticking with the good. In order, here are my five favorite pumpkin beers brewed in the Midwest.

5. Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Ale

The running joke for awhile was that Dexter, Michigan's Jolly Pumpkin, despite its name, did not brew a pumpkin beer. That changed when it released La Parcela and the world is better for it. It's a definite Jolly Pumpkin take on the style, blending the pumpkin, spices and hint of cocoa with the brewery's signature sour style and resulting in a distinctly different pumpkin beer.

4. Hoppin' Frog Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale

This Ohio brew comes in 22 oz. bottles and packs a wallop at 8.4% ABV.  You’ll have to be weary of the high alcohol content because this is a very good tasting beer that mixes pumpkin pie flavors with the warming quality of the high alcohol content. That combination makes it perfect for the crisp fall nights.

3. Lakefront Pumpkin Lager

Last year my father-in-law returned from a trip to Milwaukee with an entire case of Lakefront Pumpkin Lager. In late July. I drank almost literally nothing but Lakefront Pumpkin for weeks. In late summer. Still, I never tired of it and it's not too often you see a pumpkin lager. Extremely easy-drinking, it's the perfect pumpkin choice when the weather's still a bit warm outside.

2. Tyranena Painted Ladies Pumpkin Spice Ale

Wisconsin's Tyranena makes a top notch pumpkin ale that's full of pumpkin taste balanced out by pumpkin pie spices.  It's crisp and refreshing with just the right amount of carbonation.

1. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

This is the pumpkin spice latte equivalent in the pumpkin beer world. It's the beer everyone should be going crazy for once late August hits. Hands down the one beer I reach for every fall. It's an immaculate blend of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices that tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. When you do find this St. Louis brew, stock up because it goes quickly.