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Pumpkin beer is on the way out

Patrick Fort
Aspen Public Radio

Seasonal beers have been all the rage in the craft beer world. One fall variation is the pumpkin beer. But that flavor seems to be on the decline.

Dan Scesnewicz is the general manager of HOPS Culture in Aspen. Right now, some of the biggest sellers are fall seasonal beers. That’s stuff like Oktoberfests and Marzens.

The pumpkin beer is one of the most divisive beers around. There are people who love their beer tasting like pumpkin pie. Or maybe they love when it tastes like real pumpkin. Or perhaps they can’t stand the taste regardless. Chase Engel, of Roaring Fork Beer Company, can’t stand the taste, but understands the business of it.

“Everyone’s going to go buy a six-pack of it,” said Engel. “It may be the only one they buy. I’m willing to bet in February you’ll still see pumpkin beer in people’s refrigerators.”

Engel said that, despite his distaste for the beer, he understands the business behind it for brewers. But over the past few years, the rise of pumpkin beer has turned into a little bit of a fall.

Scesnewicz said he has seen a decline in the number of pumpkin beers he’s selling.

“I think people are exploring those older styles of craft beers,” said Scesnewicz.

Scesnewicz said by next year sour beers will be the next big thing. He already has a pineapple one on tap. So brewers behind Jolly Pumpkin, or the Imperial Pumpkin Porter will find that there is less space for them on the taps at HOPS.

Patrick Fort grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, nurturing a love for ice hockey and deli sandwiches. After moving to Colorado in 2010 to attend the University of Colorado to study music, Patrick discovered his love for journalism. In 2013, Patrick created and hosted the award-winning radio program Colorado Stories, a news program that covered CU and the surrounding community. An avid mountain and road cyclist, Patrick also referees youth ice hockey. He loves '60s pop bands and and trying new recipes ranging from milk-braised carnitas to flourless cakes.
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