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Pumpkin beers: Great or gross?

(Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune )
September 10, 2013|By Kate Bernot, @kbernot and Ernest Wilkins, @ErnestWilkins | RedEye

No beer style inspires the level of heated debate that pumpkin beers do. RedEye's own Kate Bernot and Ernest Wilkins weigh in on the great pumpkin beer debate, though this one may have to be settled with a good old-fashioned arm-wrestling match.

GREAT

Call me a relativist, but I believe there are no inherently bad beer styles. (I am giving gruit beers the side eye, though.) Yes, there are a few overly spiced, sugar sweet and mapley pumpkin beers out there that are made with exactly zero percent actual pumpkin, but those don't render the entire category awful. Pumpkin beers are a spectrum, a fact I learned well last year when I hosted a pumpkin beer-tasting party at my apartment that netted more than 20 versions of the style. I found some favorites that smelled and tasted complex, properly spiced and like one big gulp of fall in a glass. All you haters just leave more for me. –Kate Bernot, @kbernot

GROSS

Ah yes, autumn. The crisp weather, the leaves changing and every jerk on Earth needing to gorge on "pumpkin" everything. Pumpkin beer has to be the worst offender. I don't truly hate these beers, but we need to address that for every delicious one (Southern Tier's Pumking and Big Muddy's Pumpkin Smasher come to mind) there are 120 horrible nutmeg-heavy crap bombs passing themselves as delicious fall booze. Enough! Don't let those fat cats at Big Pumpkin decide what you choose to drink the next time you're in the bar. –Ernest Wilkins, @ErnestWilkins

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