Pumpkin ale—that is, ale flavored with pumpkin (and appropriate spices)—has positively proliferated in recent years; Beer Advocate recently rated an astonishing 220 examples, among them Ghoul Fuel, Jacques au Lantern, Gourd of the Rings, and, yes, Pumpkin Up the Volume.
Meanwhile, down the street—down almost any street in America—at Starbucks, creator of Eggnog Latte, Gingerbread Latte, and the now-departed Raspberry Mocha Chip Frappuccino, the chain's pleasant if slow-moving "baristas" are filling cups with Pumpkin Spice Latte. We compared this steaming coffee beverage with a pumpkin ale from a noted brewery for our pumpkin taste-off.
Post Road (Brooklyn Brewery) Pumpkin Ale
- Price: about $10 per six-pack for 12-ounce bottles
- Alcoholic Content: 5 %
- Calories: 165
- Recommended serving temperature: 42ºF.
- Availability: On the market annually from August 15 to November 15. Sold in New York and 23 other states.
- Ingredients: Puréed Dickinson pumpkin, "a blend of seasonal spices and flavors" that varies yearly, four kinds of malted barley, two kinds of hops.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Price: about $4.30 for a 12-ounce "tall" cup
- Alcoholic content: Bring your own
- Calories: 300
- Recommended serving temperature: 150º to 170ºF
- Availability: Sold nationally, from late August through "October/November" or longer, depending on customer demand
- Ingredients: Milk, espresso, “pumpkin” syrup (sugar, condensed nonfat milk, sweetened condensed nonfat milk, annatto, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, salt, potassium sorbate), cinnamon