This week’s Canada’s Craft Beer post comes from our BC craft beer guy, Bryan Clegg. Today he gets into the Halloween spirit and treats us to several pumpkin beers (that's no trick!) from Howe Sound, Fernie, Cannery and Phillips breweries.

BC Craft Beer Pumpkin Ales | Food Bloggers of Canada

It’s mid-October, pumpkin season is in full swing and Halloween is coming up fast. That means three things:

  1. Time to find some good horror movies to watch.
  2. Rob Zombie albums on repeat.
  3. Boatloads of pumpkin beer on the store shelves and in my beer fridge.

I wrote about Pumpkin Beer last year, so there isn’t much I can give you this month when it comes to history/backstory. But I’ve got a lot of beer to get through, so I’ll just hop right to it.

Howe Sound Brewing — Smoked Imperial Pumpkin Ale

BC Craft Beer Pumpkin Ales | Food Bloggers of Canada

Howe Sound produces the most famous of all BC pumpkin beers: Pumpkineater. This year I spied a smoked version of that beer and knew I had to test it. Smoked beers are really hard to balance. Steel & Oak produces one of the best smoked beers I’ve had in their Smoked Hefe, but it isn’t at all uncommon to take a sip of a smoked beer and taste nothing but ash. Thankfully, Howe Sound got this one right. The smoke is strong on the nose, but the taste is well balanced. Smoke up front, with plenty of spiciness and a bit of sweet pumpkin. A well made smoked beer.

ABV: 8% | Available: Now in BC

Fernie Brewing Co — Pumpkin Head

BC Craft Beer Pumpkin Ales | Food Bloggers of Canada

This pumpkin brown ale from Fernie pours the darkest out of the group this month. Dark with a relatively minimal head. The aroma consists of the typical spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Taste is a nice blend of malty brown ale and spices.

ABV: 5% | Available: Now in BC

Cannery Brewing — Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale

BC Craft Beer Pumpkin Ales | Food Bloggers of Canada

Much like the Fernie beer, Cannery's Knucklehead is also based off a brown ale. The pumpkins for this beer are roasted with brown sugar. The ale has a dark amber pour with off-white head. The aroma is filled with the standard pumpkin beer spices. Taste is more of the typical pumpkin beer fare, with a touch of sweetness.

RELATED:  Canada's Craft Beer West Coast Edition: Bock To the Future

ABV: 5% | Available: Now in BC

Phillips Brewing — Toothless Pumpkin Sour Ale

BC Craft Beer Pumpkin Ales | Food Bloggers of Canada


This one from Phillips Brewing caught my eye right away — a SOUR pumpkin ale made with lactobacillus? That’s certainly new and different. So of course I had to try it. Pours copper with a white head that disappears faster than the kids when it’s time to do dishes. Aroma is tart with bits of spices. Taste is tart … very tart. To the point where I had to let it warm up a bit before I could taste anything else. Once a bit warmer, the other flavours come out and I started to enjoy it a bit more. The typical pumpkin spices are there for those who wait, but I can’t help but think the sour in this one is a little bit strong for the pumpkin side. And this is coming from a guy that really digs sour beer.

ABV: 4.7% | Available: Now in BC

Phillips Brewing — Crookeder Tooth Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale

BC Craft Beer Pumpkin Ales | Food Bloggers of Canada

Crookeder Tooth is known as the big barrel-aged brother to the more lightweight Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale. I’m a sucker for barrel-aged beers of all sorts, so this one basically had me at hello. Pour is dark amber with a nice off-white head. Aroma is spicy-sweet, vanilla, and whiskey. Taste is similarly themed, with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sweetness, vanilla, pumpkin and a touch of bourbon. Comes off like an alcoholic pumpkin pie. My favourite of this year’s batch.

ABV: 8% | Available: Now in BC

Still Thirsty?

Check out all our Canada’s Craft Beer articles.

Todd covers Atlantic Craft Beer
David covers Ontario and Quebec Craft Beer
Bryan covers BC Craft Beer

Bryan Clegg is the beer columnist for Bryan has a wide and accommodating palate; whether it’s a tasty low-IBU ale or a ride on the IBU train to Hop Country, he’s happy to drink and share a story about the ride. Follow @vanfoodies on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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