Sep 6, 2022 - Food and Drink

Pumpkin beer taste test: Pumpkincrusha is king

Pumpkin beers selected for Axios Detroit's taste testing
The Axios Detroit pumpkin beer lineup. Photo: Joe Guillen/Axios

Pumpkin-flavored beer is back!

  • To help you sift through the options, we picked a mix of five local and out-of-state beers for a blind taste test.
  • Joe hosted, and bought the beer. Sam brought cups and gummy dinosaurs for everyone to snack on.

What happened: We split up into different corners of the house and poured the beers into separate numbered cups to keep the breweries unknown. We scored each beer on a 1 to 5 scale, based on deliciousness, pumpkin flavor and drinkability. Then we added up the scores for a final ranking.

  • Because there were three of us, 15 was the highest possible composite score.

1. Short's Pumpkincrusha, 11/15 ($14 for six; 6.5% ABV): "Very balanced, good mix of pumpkin flavors and spices. My fave," Joe wrote.

  • Joe and Sam gave Short's a 4.
  • Annalise scored it a 3, noting "not huge pumpkin taste."

2. Griffin Claw Screamin' Pumpkin, 10/15 ($10 for four; 5% ABV): This was Annalise's favorite. "Tastes like it has real pumpkin, not as heavy as expected," she wrote.

  • The pumpkin was lacking for Joe. He gave Griffin Claw a 2.5, noting an odd aftertaste.

3 (tie). Southern Tier Pumking, 7.5/15 ($15 for four; 8.6% ABV): Sam and Joe enjoyed the Pumking, but Annalise was ready to revolt.

  • She gave it a 1 for an overpowering vanilla taste that came off as chemical.
  • If you're looking for the beer that tastes most like a pumpkin spice latte, this is it, Sam says.

3 (tie). Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, 7.5/15 ($16 for six; 7% ABV): A less divisive ale — Annalise and Sam scored it a 2 and Joe gave it 3.5 for its drinkability and noticeable hint of pumpkin.

5. New Holland Ichabod Ale, 6.5/15 ($11 for six; 4.5% ABV): Sam gave this a 1, his lowest score, for its air-freshener-like taste and flat texture.

  • Annalise disagreed, giving Ichabod a 3.5: "Pretty damn good, not overwhelming pumpkin flavor," she wrote.
Beers and notes taken during the Axios Detroit pumpkin beer taste testing
Notes and brews. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios
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