Young and Hungry

Brew In Town: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Where In Town: Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, 5544 Connecticut Ave. NW

Price: $2.69/12 ounces

Gourdness Gracious

There’s no avoiding pumpkin ales. They creep onto shelves like the tendrils of their namesake plant earlier and earlier each year, until—boom!—you’re trapped, surrounded by orange bottles, and it’s only August. There’s something conspiratorial about the pumpkin phenomenon, as if the style were invented by a marketing guru instead of booze-starved colonial Americans, who made beer from the indigenous fruits and brown sugar when barley was scarce. Unfortunately, many of our modern “pumpkin pie in a glass” concoctions, in which pumpkin and spices are accents rather than main ingredients, smell like the fall lineup at Yankee Candle and still taste like something that should only be consumed by desperate pilgrims. Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale, however, is a balanced, pleasant exception.

Sugar and Spice

It’s impressive that St. Louis-based Schlafly can pack so many fall flavors into a single beer. A one-note pumpkin ale this isn’t: The aroma is a sweet, complex blend of caramel, pears, pumpkin, and spices. The beer itself is rich and sticky—and a decidedly unpuritanical 8 percent alcohol—with notes of raisins, whole-grain bread, squash, and rum. Enjoy it before the annual invasion of the Christmas ales.

Photo by Daniel Fromson

  • Otto

    Well Daniel,

    I am about as biased as they come, but please accept my compliments in return. Your writing style is excellent and even were this to have been an unfavorable review, I am sure we would have savoured every word.

    We are honored to bring a worthy example of this colonial style to you and your readers.

    James Ottolini "Otto"
    Head of Brewing
    Schlafly Beer

  • Lisa

    I love pumpkin beers, and this is the very best, in my opinion. I used to favor Southern Tier's Pumking, but when I tried Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale a couple of weeks ago, for the first time, I fell totally in love/lust with it. It has the fullest flavor without being overly sweet or spicy. I wish I could find it on tap...

  • Francesca

    This is by far my favorite Pumpkin Ale! Just tried it for the first time last weekend and nowI I'm hooked!

    Lisa - It's currently on tap at Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights, DC. :)

  • Darren

    Anyone know where I can find this west of DC? Fairfax, Centreville, Manassas areas??

    I love Southern Tier Pumking, and if this is better than that or even on par I have to try it.

  • Robert

    Schlafly pumpkin ale is much better than southern tier pumking, in my opinion. I used to like post road pumpkin ale but havn

  • Robert

    Havent tried it in a couple years (continuation of my previous comment)