October means it’s time for Halloween candy, jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts and ghouls. But if you’re all grown up and far too old for trick-or-treating, you can still get into the spirit of the season with a Halloween-themed beer.
Here are eight eerie choices to consider:
Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale, Cannery Brewing, Penticton, British Columbia
The Cannery Brewing team chopped up 600 pounds of organic Knucklehead pumpkins, roasted them with brown sugar and then blended them with spices to make a richly flavoured, lightly spiced brown ale with a hint of sweetness. Pair with turkey or chicken.
Maudite, Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec
The “Maudite” name, which translates into English as “damned,” comes from an eerie tale about lumberjacks who pledged their souls to the devil. In other words, a perfect Halloween beer. This amber red ale has pleasant spicy citrus notes; pair with grilled chicken or soft cheeses.
Dark Arts Porter, Trouble Brewing, Kill, County Kildare, Ireland
Maybe it’s the fact this brewery is in Kill—45 minutes from Dublin—or maybe it’s the fact the brewery is called Trouble, either way, this porter is great for ghoulish gatherings. (Trouble also makes Ireland’s only pumpkin beer.) The Dark Arts Porter is big and traditional, with notes of coffee and caramel. Try with ribs or beef stew, or dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
Jumpin’ Jack India Pumpkin Ale, Tree Brewing, Kelowna, British Columbia
Throughout October, the Tree Brewing team celebrates beer in a big way, with special events, beer-filled pumpkins and this limited-edition brew. Real pumpkins and pie spices are used to make this full-bodied ale, which has notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus. Pair with baked ham, pumpkin pie or strong cheeses.
Santo, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Houston
Houston artist Carlos Hernandez is renowned for his Day of the Dead art—including the awesome label on Saint Arnold’s Santo dark lager. The beer itself is mighty fine, too: light-bodied, easy to drink, with floral notes. Pair with enchiladas.
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Ale, Alley Kat Brewing Company, Edmonton
One of Alberta’s first craft breweries, Alley Kat is still going strong after 20 years in business. And since 2007, the team has been making this full-bodied spicy ale. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and pumpkin—it’s the beer-lover’s equivalent of a pumpkin spiced latte. Try it paired with pumpkin pie, naturally.
Dead Reckoning Royal IPA, Big Rock Brewery, Calgary
Another granddaddy on the craft beer scene, Big Rock started in 1985. The brewery celebrates Halloween in a big way, with its Abandoned Abbey Belgian-style dark ale as well as this full-bodied IPA. Every sip of the Dead Reckoning Royal IPA is filled with hoppy sass and spicy herbs. Pair with curry or grilled lamb.
Patrick O’Pumpkin Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Central City Brewers + Distillers, Vancouver
If beer was a fiery-tempered ex-cop, it would be Patrick O’Pumpkin—at least, that’s the fun story from Vancouver’s Central City. This robust and spicy dark amber ale was aged in bourbon barrels, giving it extra attitude and big vanilla notes, too.