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A sweet autumnal drink: liquid pumpkin pie

Autumn has arrived, and that means an abundance of delicious pumpkins to be harvested. But you can do more with this fruiting vegetable than just cook it and bake it – in the Craft Beer scene of the USA and Canada, for example, they like to brew a “Pumpkin Ale”. A magnificent “beer”, whose principal flavourings are caramel malts, a cinnamon-nutmeg spice mix or also vanilla, ginger and cloves. Sounds exotic? Oh yes indeed, for German ears attuned to the Purity Law quite definitely!

What exactly is a pumpkin beer?

Pumpkin beer is traditionally brewed from the following ingredients: water, malt, pumpkin, hops and yeast. In the USA, pumpkin beer has been known ever since the 18th and 19th centuries. Since back then malt was often too expensive to be used for brewing beer, necessity was the mother of invention and they used pumpkins instead. The sugar from the flesh, particularly, was very important for the fermentation process.

Since the statutory stipulations in Germany are pretty strict in terms of the Purity Law, any beer mixture with ingredients other than hops, water and malt, can never be officially designated as beer. That’s why many brewers call their mixture “Pumpkin Drink”, “Pumpkin Pilsner” or “Pumpkin Beer” instead. In terms of taste, all of them are quite sweet, taste arrestingly of pumpkin and malt, and also have an increased alcohol content – comparable to liquid pumpkin pie, including free light-headedness into the bargain 🙂 .

(Source: Ratsherrn Brewery ©)

(Source: Ratsherrn Brewery ©)

In the USA, there are already round 400 different pumpkin beers. It’s one of the most popular seasonal beers, and is already gaining fans in Germany as well. There are some brands that can be ordered online quite easily – like the Austrian Hofstetten Kürbis-Bier. In the Hanseatic League city of Hamburg, the “Dark Lantern Pumpkin Ale”, with 5.9 % alcohol plus added allspice and nutmeg, has been brewed by the Ratsherrn Brewery since 2014. The Pumpkin Ale from Pax Bräu is also well worth a try. The Lippstädter Brewery between Dortmund and Bielefeld has likewise been producing a quaffable, deep-orange-yellow pumpkin beer with an alcohol content of around 6.5 % for quite some time now .


Besides liquid “pumpkin”, there are, of course, also plenty of excellent, rather more chewable ways of enjoying pumpkins. For all those of you with a sweet tooth, we can recommend the Beeramisu – and for everyone who prefers something a bit more substantial, there’s a sweet-malty pumpkin-beer soup:


Recipe for pumpkin-beer soup

Time required: approx. 45 min

1 Hokkaido pumpkin

1 large onion

3 – 4 stalks of celery

Some garlic

1 0.33 bottle of pale ale

½ litre of vegetable stock

1 tub of sour cream

to taste: bacon, pumpkin seeds


  1. Dice the pumpkin flesh, trim the onion, the garlic and the celery, and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Put onion, celery and garlic in a pot and sauté them. Add the pumpkin, the beer and the vegetable stock. Simmer it all for around 20 minutes .
  3. When the pumpkin has softened, blend the soup thoroughly and add sour cream.
  4. Serve with roast pumpkin seeds and diced bacon to taste.


Savour and enjoy 🙂

“Pumpkin beers” are in any case an interesting, and rather sweet taste experience. So they’re definitely worth a try at Thanksgiving or Halloween :-). Have you already tried “pumpkin beer”? If so, I would really appreciate reading your verdict in the comments. If you haven’t tasted it yet, maybe it would be something for your next Halloween party 🙂 .

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