We’re all for pumpkin everything when the season’s right. But after some of our favorite pumpkin-flavored beverages and treats were called out for containing none of the actual orange stuff (we’re looking at you, pumpkin spice latte), we started to get suspicious.
One place you’ll definitely find legit pumpkin flavor: These delicious pumpkin beers. They’re all brewed with the actual squash and real spices. Although the calorie counts range from pretty guilt-free to dessert status, the natural ingredients and good-for-you pumpkin meat make indulging in one of these brews a totally OK treat.
7 Pumpkin Beers That Actually Contain Pumpkin
Made with over 17 pounds of real pumpkin per barrel, Sam Adams brewers note that early colonists often added pumpkin to their brews because they lacked traditional malts (the grains that ferment into sugars, making beer slightly sweet). In this 21st century rendition, a smoky malt, along with classic pumpkin pie spices like clove, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg give the draft its distinctive flavor. Even better: This brew just qualifies as a member of the under-200 calorie club, with an estimated 199 calories and 19 grams of carbs per bottle.
Earning a 96 percent ranking (out of 100) from Beer Advocate, this brew from the Florida-based Cigar City Brewing is categorized by beer lovers as “world class.” With 288 calories per 12-ounce serving, it’s a little on the heavy side. But the company can confirm their ale is brewed with real pumpkin, and no artificial flavorings or colorings. We’ll drink to that!
After Blue Moon introduced their Pumpkin Ale in 1995, it became the first nationally available ale of its kind. The medium-bodied brew has just 186 calories per bottle. You won’t regret opening a bar tab to taste this combo of pumpkin, Munich and caramel malts, and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. And it’s not just for happy hour. Foodies will love that this brew pairs well with beef dishes. Sip one alongside this Steak and Quinoa Salad Recipe.
Made with real pumpkin and other natural flavors, Pumking has approximately 236 calories per 12-ounce serving. The New York-based brewing company uses two varieties of hops and two varieties of malts to make this seasonal treat. The brewers claim it pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner, so be sure to save some for next month, too. Just don’t go overboard on the pie!
A small amount of real pumpkin — and a boatload of natural spices — come together in this tasty cinnamon and nutmeg seasoned beer. It’s available from mid-August through December. While we don’t know how many calories a pour of this will set you back, we do know there won’t be any artificial ingredients in your cup. Another bit of bar trivia for you: Blue Point beers have a distinctly toasty flavor because they’re brewed over an open flame.
This microbrewery uses real pumpkin to make their ale, and also boasts an impressive history of sourcing out only high-quality, all natural ingredients for all their suds. Though they don’t offer calorie counts for their products, you won’t find any genetically engineered ingredients, added sulfites, MSG or propylene glycol (an anti-freeze ingredient) in your mug. Plus, the company calls out which brews contain certain allergens on their website. So you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when you raise a glass.
RELATED: Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe
Low calorie alert! Post Road Pumpkin Ale clocks in at just 167 per 12-ounce serving, according to Brooklyn Brewery. Hundreds of pounds of the orange orbs are used during brewing — though they won’t reveal exactly how much — to protect their secret recipe. And don’t worry, each bottle is free of artificial flavorings and colorings, as well.
Originally published October 17, 2014. Updated October 2016.