Fall in Love with Pumpkinhead (again)


Mainers know that Fall means L.L. Bean flannel and Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead.

The release of this seasonal brew is especially anticipated throughout Maine, though Shipyard beers are distributed throughout almost all 50 states.


Photo courtesy of http://beerpulse.com/2012/09/shipyard-pumpkinhead-cans-hit-the-market-beginning-next-week/

Pumpkinhead was first brewed in 1996, but was not bottled until 2002. It is a pale wheat ale, that sports the perfect, subtly spiced flavor that we all crave in the fall. It’s golden in color, and smooth on the tongue. With an ABV of 4.5%, and a IBUS (International Bitterness Unit Scale) of only 18, this malty beer is very drinkable.

For more about Shipyard and Pumpkinhead, check out Shipyard’s website.


We are nearing the end of fall. The leaf-peepers are headed home, and Pumpkinhead is almost out-of-season.

By this point in the season, I feel like I have had enough pumpkin to turn me orange.

[I write as I shovel in bite after bite of pumpkin pie]


Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com

But autumn is not over and I am not yet ready to say goodbye to this seasonal brew.

Luckily, Shipyard gave me 15 ways to fall (oh, puns!) in love with this beer again.

Beer cocktails are rising in popularity as mixologists are getting more creative and adventurous in their art. Shipyard’s website offers a list of cocktails to make with your Pumpkinhead.


I decided to try the Capt’n Pumpkinhead, the Southern Pumpkin, the Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie, the Sleepy Hollow, and the Orange Pumpkin Shandy.

Full disclaimer: All were delicious.

Capt’n Pumpkinhead is probably the most commonly known of the beer cocktails listed; a pint of Pumpkinhead with a shot of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum. While I am not the biggest fan of spiced rum, I can understand why this is a fall favorite for some. It is sharp, and crisp. I suggest you rim your glass with cinnamon sugar if you like the spicy flavors, or honey if you want something sweet to lessen the zesty blow.


While the rum is nice, is there a really a better way to usher in the cold than with whiskey? The Southern Pumpkin is a warming but refreshing combination of a pint of Pumpkinhead and a shot of Southern Comfort. Simple enough, and definitely tasty enough. This cocktail is similar in body to the Capt’n Pumpkinhead, but different in its flavor profile. The beer’s fruity notes are pulled through by Southern Comfort’s cherry-like flavor.

The Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie was absolutely delightful. Rim your glass with caramel (you’ll thank me later). Pour a pint of Pumpkinhead and add a shot of butterscotch schnapps. Talk about smooth! The butterscotch flavor illuminates the malty flavor of this beer. It was even easier for me to drink than the Southern Pumpkin, almost too easy.


The Sleepy Hollow combines two of the best parts of the season, Pumpkinhead and apple cider. This drink is both sweet and complex. It is flavorful without being overwhelming. If you want something with an extra kick, use a hard cider, preferably a local. Try Mainiac Mac or Mainiac Gold by Ricker’s Hard Cider, in Turner, ME.

You can find their retail locations here.

Downeast Cider out of Boston, MA is also a good cider to use as it is unfiltered, giving it a similar body to a traditional apple cider.

[Side note, see the bottom of the page for a great hard cider cocktail recipe]

After reading about “Beermosas” online, I decided to try something new for Sunday brunch. The Orange Pumpkin Shandy was certainly different. With equal parts Pumpkinhead and orange juice, the fruity mix almost makes you forget you’re drinking beer. The directions on Shipyard’s site say to rim the glass with an orange and to dip in a cinnamon sugar and pumpkin spice mixture. Unfortunately, I was not so fancy. I simply used water and cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon flavor adds a lot to this drink, I even sprinkled some right into the drink. Like mimosas, this drink is a great excuse for morning booze, and perfect for those who don’t like the bubbly.


There are many recipes on the site that I didn’t try, including recipes for cupcakes, pancakespumpkin pie, and whoopie pies, all made with Pumpkinhead. There is even a recipe for “Pumpkin Pie Ala Mode,” Shipyard’s take on an ice cream float.

Bottoms up!

*Cognac Cider Spritzer-Mix 12oz hard cider, preferably cranberry flavor like Ricker’s Mainiac Gold with Cranberry or Downeast Cranberry Cider, (or use a regular hard cider, with a splash of cranberry juice), with a shot of cognac (I use Hennessy), and a couple dashes of bitters (I used orange)

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5 thoughts on “Fall in Love with Pumpkinhead (again)

  1. As a non-beer drinker… THANK YOU! I can handle beer cocktails and like your suggestions! I can see trouble ahead in loving the butterscotch pumpkin pie too too much! I agree rimming with caramel is fantastic and a great compliment! I also suggest rimming with crushed graham cracker, I do believe you will adore it 🙂

    1. sounds delicious! I will have to give that a try! I bet graham crackers would be a great rim for a dessert cocktail, like a White Russian. Something with Kahlua or Bailey’s.

      1. Or maybe a caramel-appletini!….uh oh, the wheels are spinning…I sense a long night…and a longer morning.

    1. It was very tasty, and I would assume it would work with any mild, light/pale ales.

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