Drink a toast to fall!
If you ask the man on the street to define what "seasonal" beer in the fall means to them - my money is on the answer being Pumpkin Ale. Normally available only a few months each fall, it's the brew for which the beer-drinking public waits all year. I've actually had friends keeping countdowns to pumpkin spice season. The popularity of the beverage has made brewers get creative, branching out from ale to stout to sours to barrel-aged. Here are just a few home-grown pumpkin potables brewed right here in the Show-Me State.
Schlafly Brewing Company - St. Louis: Every beer rating site places Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale near the top of its pumpkin ale rankings. In fact, it was rated one of the top nine pumpkin beers on the planet by Men's Health and just a few years ago it topped the list for Paste Magazine's national Pumpkin Beer Champion. Tasty and refreshing, with medium pumpkin, it weighs in at 8% alcohol.
Boulevard Brewing - Kansas City: after entering the pumpkin beer market in 2015 with Funky Pumpkin, the Boulevard brewers set about creating "a pumpkin beer for beer geeks" (8.5% alcohol) called Funkier Pumpkin, with a balanced array of pumpkin spices, slight pumpkin flavor, a refreshing tartness and a bit of sweetness from caramel malt.
Crown Valley Brewing and Distilling Co. - Ste. Genevieve: Imperial Pumpkin Smash is roasted with dark chocolate and toffee notes (yum!) with the pumpkin adding body and character. It's available by the bottle or draft and contains 10.6% alcohol. They also offer Pumpkin Cider with cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg at a tamer 5% alcohol.
Mother's Brewing Company - Springfield: a smooth, not overly sweet brew, Mr. Pumpkin is the pumpkin ale for beer lovers, with true pumpkin flavor, a brilliant copper color and a taste of caramel. Alcohol content is 5.2%, and with this pint, you can skip the pie.
O'Fallon Brewery - St. Louis: There are five pumpkin beers on their menu, but if you like your pumpkin pie with whipped cream or ice cream, Vanilla Pumpkin (5.5% alcohol) is the brew for you. It starts with an amber ale base and adds in pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and locally-produced Madacascar Bourbon Vanilla. Beer and Brewing Magazine picked it as one of their favorites in 2016.