With fall comes fresh seasonal produce, cozy casseroles and soups, and tons of new Halloween candy. But year after year, we get most excited about pumpkin beer. Breweries big and small across the country roll out autumn-inspired libations spiked with spices, coffee, chocolate and, of course, all the fresh pumpkin for a limited time. With so many on shelves, it can be hard to choose one you’re bound to love. So, we did the work for you. Behold: a definitive ranking of the best pumpkin beers of the year, according to our taste test. (We won’t even waste your time ranking the less-than-extraordinary ones.)

RELATED: The Best Hard Cider to Try This Apple Season, for Beer Drinkers and Beyond

How We Rated the Best Pumpkin Beers

We judged these brews based on five key factors:

  • Value: Given its ingredients and overall taste, is it worth the price?
  • Quality and Ingredients: Is it made with real pumpkin, pumpkin purée, pumpkin flavoring or pumpkin pie spice? Does the beer contain authentic, quality adjuncts?
  • Packaging: Does the can or bottle design put us in the mood for sweater season and imply something about the beer?
  • Flavor: Does it taste like what the label says it should? (And if yes, is it enjoyable?)
  • Balance: Does the pumpkin complement or overpower the flavor of the beer? Is it excessively sweet or spiced? Are the malty and hoppy qualities of the beer lost?

Our Picks for the Best Pumpkin Beers at a Glance:

Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.

1. Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale

Best overall
Availability:
nationwide

  • Value: 19/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 20/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 19/20
  • Balance: 19/20

TOTAL: 97/100

It’s tough to argue with a brewery so committed to pumpkin beer that it grows its own gourds. They’re harvested, cut and roasted by hand in a massive oven before being added to the mash. This caramelizes the pumpkins’ natural sugars, which offer the beer rich, authentic sweetness that’s reminiscent of fall’s greatest soups and desserts. This 6.1 percent ABV pumpkin ale is made with a ton of Rogue Farms Dream Pumpkins, along with four types of malt, Rogue Farms-grown Sterling hops and a slew of warm-weather spices. It’s heavily malty in flavor and slightly bitter at 25 IBUs.

Buy it ($5/16-ounce can)

Honorable mentions: Elysian Night Owl ($11/six-pack), Troegs Master of Pumpkins ($15/four-pack)

2. UFO Journey to Planet Pumpkin

Most crushable
Availability:
22 U.S. states

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 19/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Balance: 18/20

TOTAL: 95/100

For the uninitiated, crushable is a term beer lovers use to describe an easy-drinking beer that they could sip all day long. This 5.9 percent ABV hefeweizen from UFO is just that. Its medium body and light, bubbly mouthfeel make it a breeze to drink. It has mild pumpkin flavor (courtesy of freshly puréed pumpkins) that gets its point across without compromising the wheaty qualities of the beer. Its malty, slightly sweet flavor also boasts hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Like UFO’s other brews, it’s an unfiltered ale, meaning the yeast isn’t filtered out before bottling; this results in a cloudy, opaquer final product.

Buy it ($11/six-pack)

Honorable mentions: River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern ($12/six-pack), Shipyard Pumpkinhead ($10/six-pack)

3. O’Fallon Vanilla Pumpkin

Most like liquid pumpkin pie
Availability:
15 U.S. states in the midwest, south and northeast

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 18/20
  • Packaging: 19/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Balance: 17/20

TOTAL: 92/100

If you don’t mind sweet beer that tastes like Thanksgiving dessert, look no further than this 5.5 percent ABV pumpkin beer from O’Fallon Brewery. The ingenious addition of cold-pressed Madagascar bourbon vanilla turns the brewery’s O.G. pumpkin ale into something spectacular, like a pumpkin beer ice cream float. It’s got minimal bitterness at 11 IBUs and is definitely in-your-face sweet, but warming cinnamon, nutmeg and clove help balance the flavor a bit.

Buy it ($11/six-pack)

Honorable mentions: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale ($13/six-pack), Southern Tier Pumking ($15/four-pack)

4. Bronx Brewery Tattooed Pumpkin IPA

Best pumpkin IPA
Availability:
New York

  • Value: 19/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 19/20
  • Packaging: 18/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Balance: 17/20

TOTAL: 91/100

IPA devotees aren’t usually chomping at the bit for pumpkin beer season to arrive, and pumpkin beer lovers typically don’t go for hop bombs. But for those of you who want to venture outside your comfort zone, there are a rare few pumpkin IPAs on the market, and one of the best is from the Bronx. Meet the Tattooed Pumpkin IPA, a 7.5 percent ABV brew that boasts four types of earthy, piney hops and eight types of malt, including Chocolate and Caramel. Heaping additions of pumpkin purée and vanilla curb its bitterness big time (it clocks in at only 11 IBUs) for a balanced sip, but we wish the pumpkin came through a bit stronger. If you’re not in the New York area, you may have better luck finding our second favorite pumpkin IPA below.

Buy it ($19/four-pack)

Honorable mentions: Barrier Brewing Kickin’ Knowledge Pumpkin ($6.50/16-ounce can)

5. New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin

Best spicy pumpkin beer
Availability:
national

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 18/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 17/20
  • Balance: 19/20

TOTAL: 94/100

Nothing warms us up like a pumpkin beer…except for a pumpkin beer brewed with real hot chiles, of course. The 6.4 percenter is a simple beer made with Pale, Munich and Caramel 120 malts and Nugget hops, making for an easy-drinking, minimally bitter brew. Instead of adding loads of pumpkin pie spice, New Belgium uses pumpkin juice for flavor. We appreciate the beer’s slight vegetal qualities that make it impossible to forget that it’s made with real peppers. You can feel a slight tingle in your throat from habaneros and cinnamon after every sip.

Buy it ($11/six-pack)

Honorable mentions: Clown Shoes Pumpkin Sombrero ($16/four-pack)

6. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Best dark pumpkin beer
Availability:
national

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 19/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 17/20
  • Balance: 18/20

TOTAL: 94/100

Winter is undoubtedly the best time of year to drink dark beer. They often have bold, deep, toasty flavors reminiscent of caramel, coffee and chocolate. But if you want a dark beer that delivers without steamrolling your tastebuds, this 7 percent ABV brown ale from Dogfish Head is the one. It’s been a fall favorite since 1995 and it’s no surprise why, since it’s pleasantly malty without being too heavy in terms of flavor and body. Notes of fall spices and brown sugar shine through atop a layer of brewed pumpkin meat that’s guaranteed to warm your bones. If you prefer stouts to porters and brown ales, look no further than Elysian’s black-as-night offering below.

Buy it ($13/six-pack)

Honorable mentions: Elysian Dark O’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout ($11/22-ounce bottle)

7. Two Roads Roadsmary’s Baby

Best barrel-aged pumpkin beer
Availability:
12 eastern U.S. states, plus Colorado

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 17/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 19/20
  • Balance: 18/20

TOTAL: 94/100

Barrel aging is a process that’s used to impart various flavors onto alcoholic beverages. Depending on the type of wood and how long it’s aged, it can totally transform a beer. Case and point: Two Roads Roadsmary’s Baby, a 6.8 percent ABV pumpkin ale aged in rum barrels with vanilla beans for maximum complexity, depth of flavor and booziness. Malt, pumpkin and fall spices dominate at the forefront (the aroma alone makes us want to bake), as well as oaky notes from the rum barrel aging. The vanilla shines brightest at the end of the sip, likely due to the rum-soaked wood the beer was aged in.

Buy it ($13/six-pack)

Honorable mentions: Avery Brewing Co. Rumpkin (limited vintages in Colorado), Bronx Brewery Barrel-Aged Tattooed Pumpkin IPA ($30/four-pack)

8. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin

Best imperial pumpkin ale

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 18/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Balance: 19/20

TOTAL: 95/100

In a word, imperials are big beers. Not only do they typically come with a high ABV, but they’re also usually just as strong in flavor. Weyerbacher’s pumpkin offering clocks in at a cool 8 percent (hence the brewery’s description “dangerously drinkable”), so it’s not dramatically boozy, but it’ll certainly have you feeling loose faster than most pumpkin ales. It’s malt-forward with a bready, brown sugar-like backbone, complemented by a bold assortment of spices. Cardamom and clove make for a unique flavor profile that beers made strictly with cinnamon and nutmeg don’t have.

Buy it ($12/four-pack)

Honorable mentions: Southern Tier Pumking ($15/four-pack), Flying Dog The Fear ($15/six-pack)

9. Elysian Punkuccino

Best coffee pumpkin beer
Availability:
more than 30 U.S. states

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 19/20
  • Packaging: 20/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Balance: 19/20

TOTAL: 96/100

Because the only thing that tops a PSL is one with alcohol. Get your java fix in the form of Elysian’s Punkuccino, a 6 percent ABV pumpkin ale spiked with Stumptown coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg. Six types of malt (including Biscuit, Chocolate and Kiln-Coffee) meet German Northern Brewer hops for just a touch of espresso-inspired bitterness. Pumpkin is added not only to the mash, but also to the kettle and the fermenter for maximum fall flavor. Thanks to the addition of lactose, the beer also has a creamy mouthfeel, just like a latte. It’s impeccably balanced, roasty and chocolatey, yet still almost juicy with the flavor of our favorite gourd.

Buy it ($3/12-ounce bottle)

Honorable mentions: O’Fallon Jack O’Latte ($12/four-pack), Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin ($14/six-pack)

10. Evil Genius Trick or Treat

Best dessert pumpkin beer
Availability:
seven U.S. states in the northeast

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 17/20
  • Packaging: 17/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Balance: 18/20

TOTAL: 90/100

For something sweet that isn’t cloying, it doesn’t get much tastier than Evil Genius’s chocolate pumpkin porter. With a 7.8 percent ABV, Trick or Treat has dark, roasty qualities, thanks to four types of malt, as well as an IBU of 35 due to Tettnang and Warrior hops. (The bitterness paired with the beer’s chocolatey coffee notes dries your mouth, like the way a tannic red wine would.) Cinnamon, clove and nutmeg hold down the fort on the pumpkin front, while chocolate keeps things silky and just sweet enough for the beer to remain in porter territory.

Buy it ($12/six-pack)

Honorable mentions: O’Fallon Salted Caramel Pumpkin ($12/four-pack)

11. Prairie Artisan Ales Pumpkin Kerfuffle

Most unexpected pumpkin beer
Availability:
42 U.S. states

  • Value: 18/20
  • Quality and Ingredients: 17/20
  • Packaging: 19/20
  • Flavor: 19/20
  • Balance: 19/20

TOTAL: 92/100

Finding a pumpkin sour is kind of like seeing a unicorn—it’s basically unheard of, and if you gush to your friends about how awesome it was, they probably won’t believe you. Well, Prairie’s Pumpkin Kerfuffle, an 8.2 percent ABV imperial sour, will make them see the truth. It’s mouth-puckering without being overwhelmingly tart, almost like sweet-and-sour pumpkin candy. It’s packed with toasted marshmallow flavor and pumpkin pie spice, so its flavor has a creamy, meringue-like backbone to it. The Pumpkin Kerfuffle may not be made with real pumpkin, but it’s a rare autumn delicacy that no sour beer lover should turn down the chance to try. It’s the priciest beer on our list at nearly 50 cents an ounce (sours tend to be more expensive in general), but you’d be hard-pressed to find another pumpkin sour near you in the first place, let alone one this tasty.

Buy it ($23/four-pack)

Honorable mentions: O’Fallon Maple Bacon Pumpkin Spiced Red Ale ($12/four-pack)

RELATED: 50 Fall Cocktails That Are Cozy, Refreshing and Oh-So-Seasonal

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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