Hipsters love it, beer snobs hate it, but no one can deny the excitement (or absolute manic) when pumpkin beer makes its annual debut. By now, Instagram has blown up with oversaturated closeups of beer bottles and a variety of animated pumpkin characters advertising a mouthful of fall flavors. For those of us who live in states with little to no change in season, this is our chance to pretend we know what fall tastes like, albeit from a bottle.
This year, step up your kitchen game by pairing these pumpkin brews and foods. Not big into cooking? Crack open a beer, enjoy one of the suggested seasonal adult activities and make someone else cook.
Harpoon Brewery: UFO Pumpkin
Flavors: Malty with subtle hints of pumpkin and spice.
Perfect for: A weekend, go-to seasonal brew, drunk apple picking, and grilling out on those freakishly warm fall evenings.
Pairs well with: Herb-roasted chicken, grilled pork chops, sloppy Joes, or a fat, charred bratwurst.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: Punkin Ale
Flavors: Pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon.
Perfect for: Fall tailgating, Thanksgiving prepping, Black Friday shopping online, and weekend backyard bonfires.
Pairs well with: Chili, shepherd's pie, turkey/apple/brie sandwich, cranberry/walnut salad, chicken Alfredo, or mashed potatoes.
Uinta Brewing: Punk'n Pumpkin Ale
Flavors: Toasty pumpkin with nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. The pumpkin takes center stage instead of bombarding your tongue with spices like just about every other pumpkin beer.
Perfect for: Date night at home, raking leaves (if you're lucky enough to live somewhere 'up north'), and those random urges to spontaneously bake an apple pie.
Pairs well with: Chicken pot pie, Philly cheesesteak, roasted root vegetables with wild rice, Buffalo chicken dip, Thai peanut noodles.
Southern Tier Brewing Company: Pumpking
Flavors: Super sweet and spicy—it tastes like drinking liquified pumpkin pie or a melted bag of candy corn.
Perfect for: Getting drunk quickly, satisfying your dessert craving via alcohol, and drunkin' punkin' floats (Pumpking + vanilla ice cream)
Pairs well with: If you have any room left in your stomach while you drink this beer, it's great with sweets. Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are highly recommended.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company: Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale
Flavors: Mostly caramel with some spices and a hint of hops.
Perfect for: Pre-gaming your family get together, procrastinating instead of doing your homework, and sending inappropriate Snapchats to your BFF.
Pairs well with: Potatoes au gratin, chicken and waffles, grilled cheese, stuffed peppers, or teriyaki glazed salmon.
Shipyard Brewing Co.: Pumpkinhead
Flavors: If a wheat beer and a pumpkin hooked up, this is what would ensue. A crisp pumpkin beer with a hint of cinnamon that still makes you to feel like you're drinking beer.
Perfect for: Guys who want a piece of the pumpkin-flavored craze without compromising their masculinity, and nearly-guilt-free drinking instead of hitting the gym.
Pairs well with: Spicy curry, mac and cheese, pork tenderloin, sweet potato quesadillas, or wings.
Pumpkin beer may have been released back in August, but there's still time to make your own six-pack and prepare a killer, autumn-inspired meal with booze as the star. As always, it wouldn't be a proper adult article without a little caveat to please enjoy your beverages responsibly.