There’s no doubt that the season for pumpkin beer is in full swing, but not all of these brews are actually made using real pumpkin. We’re not saying that’s a bad thing, especially if the beer tastes really good, but we know a lot of people are also into more “natural” drinking experiences.


So which companies are going the extra mile to bring you authentic pumpkin beer?


  • Shawnee Craft Brewing Company makes their Belgium-Style Farmhouse Ale, Pumpkin Saison, out of whole pumpkins. All of the pumpkins are cut by hand by a staff of three people and a total of one-thousand pounds of pumpkins meet their maker every year.


  • Smuttynose Brewing creates their Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale using only the most natural ingredients: cascade and liberty hops, real pumpkin meat, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. No chemical pumpkin flavoring and no other spices.


  • Lakefront Brewery claims to have the only pumpkin lager available in the world (all other pumpkin beers are ales). They use real pumpkin and a blend of spices to brew the lager for 4 full weeks. The extra time gives the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager “a deep, smooth richness that no ale can match.”


  • Thirsty Dog Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale is never available before pumpkin season because they grow their own pumpkins just to make this ale. Brewed with summer’s harvest of 5 varieties of pumpkins, they are hand-selected and caramelized just prior to brewing.


Using real pumpkins can be extremely labor-intensive for these companies, so we give them a lot of credit for going the extra mile. Some breweries choose to use canned pumpkin or a blend of spices that are “pumpkiny” and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that – it gives us choices when we’re choosing our pumpkin beers.