A one pint can of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale is reviewed as one of the Best Seasonal Beers in the beer blog Denim Beer Machines & Coffee.
A one pint can of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale, brewed in Hershey,Pennsylvania.

On Top—A Review of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins, One of the Best Seasonal Beers

Autumn marks the return of flannel, bonfires, and the ever-popular pumpkin-flavored beers. In this competitive field, Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale has distinguished itself as a top contender.

If you’ve been doing your homework on the top pumpkin beers, you might’ve read my “Fluid List: The Best Pumpkin Beers Ranked,” where I ranked some of the best in the business (or, at least, those I’ve tasted). Master of Pumpkins didn’t just make the cut—it rose to the top, a testament to its craft and flavor profile.

After taking my first sip of Master of Pumpkins Ale, it became immediately clear that it was well-named. Oh, it’s not just a moniker; it’s a statement.

Master of Pumpkins Ale pours with an inviting, thick, creamy, off-white head that immediately catches the eye. The beer itself presents a rich, dark brown hue, evoking autumn evenings and a sense of rustic warmth. On the nose, the aroma delivers subtle hints of cinnamon, clove, and, of course, pumpkin—conjuring a nostalgic blend of fall scents. As for carbonation, it strikes a well-balanced medium, providing just enough effervescence to elevate the complex flavors without overwhelming the palate.

Founded in 1996 and hailing from Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tröegs Independent Brewing has a long-standing reputation for crafting award-winning beers. Among their seasonal offerings, Master of Pumpkins Ale stands out. Every ingredient, down to the longneck pumpkins, is locally sourced from Pennsylvania farms, lending the ale an unmatched level of authenticity.

Master of Pumpkins Ale isn’t just another seasonal offering—it’s a finely crafted masterpiece in the realm of pumpkin ales. If you get the chance, don’t hesitate to try it; it comes with my highest recommendation for an autumnal brew done right.

  • Style: Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 7.5 %
  • IBUs: 30
  • Seasonal: Available September through October
  • Awards: 2019 U.S. Beer Tasting Championship – Best of the Mid-Atlantic Spice Beer
  • Grain: Munich, Pilsner, Special B
  • Hops: German Northern Brewer
  • Yeast: Belgian Ale Yeast
  • Tasting Notes: nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla bean
  • Brewer: Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey, Pennsylvania-based, independent craft brewery
A 12-ounce bottle of Saranac Pumpkin Ale on a white background for a review of the best-tasting pumpkin beers.

Saranac Pumpkin Ale review

As someone who loves fall and all things pumpkin beer, I was excited to try Saranac Pumpkin Ale, a seasonal that captures the flavors and essence of the fall season. The brewery began producing this beer in 2010, with the goal of creating a beer that would showcase the traditional flavors of the season.

The aroma of Saranac Pumpkin Ale is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with a strong sweet and spicy scent that is sure to awaken your senses. On the palate, the pumpkin flavor is balanced with the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. While it does have a mildly bitter finish, the beer remains refreshing and drinkable.

What sets Saranac Pumpkin Ale apart from other pumpkin beers is the brewery’s commitment to using real pumpkin in the recipe. This adds to the authenticity of the flavor and ensures that you’re getting a quality product. The combination of pale, caramel, and Munich malts also creates a nice balance of sweetness and spiciness.

While it may not be one of my very top favorites, I still highly recommend giving Saranac Pumpkin Ale a try. Its sweet and spicy aroma, balanced flavor, and quality ingredients make it a great addition to any fall beer lineup.

  • Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 5.4 %
  • 15 IBUs
  • Seasonal
  • Available in 12-oz Bottles (6-packs)
  • Utica, New York-based Family-Owned, Craft Beer Brewery
DuClaw 31 pumpkin spiced lager beer in a 12oz can

DuClaw 31 pumpkin spiced lager

DuClaw 31 Pumpkin Spice Lager is a seasonal beer that was first brewed in 2008 as a one-time release for Halloween. Dark amber in color, I found it to be tasty, with a slightly bitter finish.

It is nicely spiced, thanks to the addition of pumpkin and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It smells strongly of pumpkin and feels creamy in the mouth, both of which add to the overall taste experience. It strikes a nice balance between sweetness and spiciness, with neither overpowering the other. Bottom line: I found it to be a smooth, easy-drinking pumpkin beer.

  • Pumpkin Spiced Lager
  • ABV: 5.7%
  • 27 IBUs
  • Seasonal
  • Available in 12-oz Cans and Draft
  • Baltimore Maryland-based Craft Brewery
18 brands of the best pumpkin beers for ranking by the beer influencer blog, Denim Beer Machines and Coffee.

A Fluid List: The Best Pumpkin Beers Ranked

Like First Takes Stephen A. Smith’s “A-List,” this list is fluid. However, this list is fluid, not because of indecision but mainly because there are a lot of pumpkin beers out there, and I haven’t tried them all. OK, there could be some shifting and a change of mind later, but as of September 24, 2023, this is the lay of the land.

Back in September 2022, I thought I’d get a head start on Halloween by reviewing some seasonal pumpkin-flavored beers. Pumpkin beers were not really my thing (but I’m a fan now), and I ended up on a journey where all I drank were pumpkin beers for three months.

The original plan was to focus solely on Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale. But, as is often the case with underestimated experiences, it planted a seed of curiosity that flourished over time. That led me to widen my sampling range, amassing a respectable collection of pumpkin beers over the course of time. You could say my palate has been thoroughly educated in this particular field.

Here are my most updated insights as of September 24, 2023, and a discerning list of the best pumpkin beers you ought to consider this season.

An artful 12-oz. can of Pumpkin Ale beer by Five Boroughs Brewing Company

# 18 – Pumpkin Ale

Five Boroughs Brewing Co.

Five Boroughs Brewing Company makes a pumpkin beer with beautifully designed can graphics. With hints of pumpkin and spice, I put it in my lighter-flavored category. Its Pumpkin Ale is marketed as “well-balanced and drinkable.” I did enjoy it but deducted points for the lingering, overly bitter aftertaste.

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale 12oz. can or beer for review on Denim BMC blog.

# 17 – Pumpkin Ale

Smuttynose Brewing Co

With most beers, I can write a review after a few sips. Things pop into my head. I know if it’s good or bad right away. In my review of Smuttynose Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale, I really struggled to find something to say about it. Nothing really good or bad stood out, which is why it’s not that high on my list. READ THE OUR REVIEW

A 12-ounce bottle of Harpoon Dunkin' Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale pumpkin beer

# 16- Dunkin’ Pumpkin

Harpoon Brewery

The pumpkin flavor is mild and has a clean finish, but there are lingering coffee notes that are not apparent at first sip. In fact, the aftertaste reminds me of pre-sweetened cappuccinos from gas stations or Dunkin’ Donuts machines. Watered-down coffee and mechanical cappuccinos do not appeal to me, but to so many Americans, they do. I give the Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin props for originality.

Two cans of New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale beer

# 15- Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin

New Belgium Brewing Company

Originality is rewarded, and New Belgium’s Atomic Pumpkin’s flavor ranks high for its unique, high degree of spicy take. This delightfully punishing pumpkin ale’s name, “Atomic Pumpkin,” says a lot about it. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

12-oz. bottle of Saranac Pumpkin Ale on a white background to review the best-tasting pumpkin beers.

# 14 – Pumpkin Ale

Saranac / Matt Brewing Company

On the palate, the Saranac Pumpkin Ale did not disappoint. The pumpkin flavor was front and center, balanced by the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

# 13 – 31 Pumpkin Spiced Lager

DuClaw Brewing Company

The DuClaw 31 pumpkin spiced lager is dark and tasty. It finishes a little bitter, but it’s nicely spicy and flavorful, with a hint of sweetness. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12-ounce bottle of Southern Tier Pumking Ale pumpkin beer

# 12 – Pumpkin Imperial Ale

Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not without flaws, Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumking Imperial Ale delivers a punch with a pleasant pumpkin flavor. The pumpkin flavor is evident, but the finish has a secondary boozy taste. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12-ounce can of UFO Pumpkin beer

# 11 – Pumpkin


The Pumpkin brewed by UFO is a pumpkin beer that is easy to drink, especially if you enjoy unfiltered or hefeweizen beers. It’s medium-bodied with a mellow sweetness, and there’s nothing I find overpowering about it. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12 oz bottle of Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale for the top pumpkin beers ranking

# 10 – Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Brooklyn Brewery

Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewery is above average. It has a nice, sharp finish without a lot of cinnamon and spices. It’s just a smooth pumpkin-flavored beer that’s very refreshing without overbearing traits.

A 1-pint can of Bronx Brewery Tattooed Pumpkin IPA beer with tattoo artwork

# 9 – Tattooed Pumpkin

The Bronx Brewery

Tattooed Pumpkin by Bronx Brewery is a sweet and hazy pumpkin IPA with a slightly bitter finish. It’s better balanced in terms of pumpkin flavor and spices than many of the other pumpkin beers that I’ve tried. It’s sold in limited-edition artwork 4-packs with four different labels, in collaboration with Tuff City Tattoos.

A 12-oz. bottle of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale beer blog review of the best pumpkin beers

# 8 – Pumpkin Ale

Schlafly – The Saint Louis Brewery

First thoughts: molasses, dark, heavy, thick, and full of flavor. Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale is a pure delight of a beer. It’s hazy and sweet, from the first sip to the last, and could easily move closer to the top of this fluid list.

Captain Lawrence Autumn Blaze pumpkin beer in 12 ounce can and six-pack box.

# 7 – Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale

Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Blazing clean and refreshing. The Captain Lawrence Brewing Company didn’t go full pumpkin with its Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale; instead, it has a very mild pumpkin flavor that grew on me. I later bought a second 6-pack as a change of pace as a dinner beer.

A 12-ounce can of Montauk Pumpkin Ale, ranked the best light pumpkin beer by the Denim BMC blog

# 6 – Pumpkin Ale

Montauk Brewing Company

Montauk Pumpkin Ale reigns supreme among pumpkin beers on the lighter side. The pumpkin and spices aren’t overpowering, but rather delightfully light. This beer is unquestionably the best in the “light pumpkin beer” category of all the beers I’ve tried.

Two Roads Brewing Company's 12-ounce can of Roadsmary's Baby pumpkin ale beer and 6-pack box.

# 5 – Roadsmary’s Baby Pumpkin Ale

Two Roads Brewing Company

Two Roads Brewing Company’s Roadsmary’s Baby is a traditional pumpkin ale that is scary good and wins the “best in overall taste” category. It’s simply a damn good beer. It’s dark and feels a little heavy in the mouth. Aged in rum barrels, this beer has a smooth, complex, fruity, citrusy finish. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 16-ounce can of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale to be reviewed on the beer blog Denim Beer Machines & Coffee for an article on the best pumpkin beers.

# 4 – Master of Pumpkins Ale

Tröegs Brewing Company

Master of Pumpkins is brewed by Tröegs Brewing Company. It only took a few sips to know this beer was jumping to the front of the line. My first thoughts were that this pumpkin ale is well-named. The name? Oh, it’s not just a moniker; it’s a statement. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12-ounce bottle of Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

# 3 – Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Elysian Brewing Company

Before ever trying a pumpkin beer, this is what I imagined a good pumpkin beer would taste like: The Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from the Elysian Brewing Company is medium-bodied, lightly sweet, and great from the first sip to the last. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 16-ounce can of Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin ale for best pumpkin beers ranking

# 2 – Smashed Pumpkin

Shipyard Brewing Company

It tastes like it was poured from a freshly carved pumpkin. Crack open a can of Shipyard Brewing Company’s Smashed Pumpkin, and you can smell the pumpkin. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy. It’s aged in oak-stave bourbon barrels for three months and has a boozy finish. However, my quick-forming buzz told me it was acceptable: “You’re drinking a bourbon-spiked pumpkin beer; let it ride.” READ OUR FULL REVIEW

Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale ranked #1 of the best pumpkin beers

# 1 – Jack-O Pumpkin Ale

Samuel Adams – Boston Beer Company

There is not even a close second. Samuel Adams easily holds the title of “the best pumpkin beer.” READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 16 oz can of Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin beer for a review of the best pumpkin beers

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Review: Drinking beer with bourbon

There’s no doubt this is a pumpkin beer. I cracked the top open and smelled the pumpkin.


Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin is aged for three months in oak staves from Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. Shipyard Brewing Co. hand labels each can of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Smashed Pumpkin Ale with the year, barrel number, and aging location as an extra touch.

My Review

The initial sip is sweet and pumpkiny. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy. It appears hazy with a deep orange hue. This beer tastes like it was poured from inside a freshly carved pumpkin. Perhaps it’s the bourbon barrel aging, but there’s a strong alcohol taste that I think it could do without. I say “think” because I haven’t finished the 16-oz. can yet and am already buzzed. Woodford Reserve is one of my favorite bourbons, and my buzz has just informed me that the alcohol taste is acceptable. “You’re drinking a bourbon-spiked pumpkin beer; let it ride.”

My conclusion. I love it.

  • Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • 20 IBUs
  • Seasonal
  • Available in 16-oz Cans (4-packs) & Kegs
  • Portland, Maine-based Family-Owned, Craft Beer Brewery
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale 12oz. can or beer for review on Denim BMC blog.

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale review

With most beers, I can write a review after a few sips. Things pop into my head. I know if it’s a good or bad beer right away. I usually have an idea of what I want to say by the time I finish a bottle or can.

I drank a 6-pack of Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale over a few days, each day wanting to get this review done, but nothing came to me. I gave it a few days off in case I was all pumpkined out, but still nothing inspired me. It’s like I had a beer block with the Smuttynose. For me, there is nothing to spin, good or bad.

I considered purchasing another six-pack to force-feed my thoughts, but instead chose to go on. The only thing I recall about this beer is that it was a little bitter with a pumpkin flavor. I guess I failed on this one. Nothing negative to say. Nothing enlightening. It’s simply a pumpkin beer.

  • Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 5.9%
  • 54 IBUs
  • Seasonal
  • Available in 12-oz Cans
  • New Hampshire-based Craft Brewery