Getting sick of pumpkin beers yet? Hate on them all you want, but—much like Taco Bell and Thursday-night football—it exists because you all secretly can't get enough of it.
Beer flavored with everyone's favorite late-October gourd is nothing new in craft at this point. Where the Bend Whole Foods would've stocked Elysian's Night Owl pumpkin ale and maybe Southern Tier's Pumking a few years back, it's now got an entire shelf full of them, including Dogfish Head's Punkin, Rogue's Pumpkin Patch Ale, and Epic's Fermentation Without Representation. And just like Christmas, these beers have been appearing earlier and earlier every year, with Pumking (the imperial stout that's been the main catalyst behind Southern Tier's cross-country growth) hitting stores in July and Tampa-based Cigar City Brewing releasing a heavy chocolate pumpkin ale called Seasonal Creep in June.
If you're resentful of pumpkin's rise in seasonal drinking, rest assured that it'll all be over soon—it almost falls out of shelves entirely after Halloween. But what if you want something for the season that doesn't smack of cinnamon and sugar and won't give you a stomachache after consuming an entire bottle? Here are a few ideas:
Old Rasputin (North Coast): No offense meant to Oregon's fine breweries, but none of them have made a stout as thick, syrupy, and downright chewable as Old Rasputin, a mainstay on nitro taps across Bend. The colder and more blustery it gets outside, the better it tastes. It's magical that way. Also try Narwhal from Sierra Nevada for another flavor-tastic stout.
Enjoy By (Stone): Hopheads have presumably picked up their bottles of Enjoy By 10.31.15 by now, ensuring that fresh, floral, dank double-IPA enjoyment is at hand for your costume party. But save some room for the upcoming Enjoy By 11.27.15 Black IPA, the first they've done in the series...and at all, in fact, since dropping Sublimely Self-Righteous earlier this year.
One-Off Banished Freakcake #5 (Crux): Now's your chance to impress your friends with your subtle, delicate beer palate (or, at least, with your spending habits). Originally released last winter, Crux has released some extra bottles of their bourbon barrel-aged Oud Bruin ale at the brewery, both "naked" and in special versions flavored with currants or dates. It's not a cheap date at $29 per bomber, but dedicated sour beer enthusiasts will be glad to make the investment.