Seems there was a time when the word “pumpkin,” “onion,” and “beer” just shouldn’t go together. But now they do, and just in time for the holidays. The Wild Onion Brewing Co. of Lake Barrington has issued its popular Pumpkin Ale in cans, available at stores around Chicago and ‘burbs.
The beer described as a “Fall classic with crisp malt flavor and a hint of pumpkin spice,” follows their Paddy Pale Ale, which arrived on store shelves this summer. The brewery is tied to the Onion Pub & Brewery in Lake Barrington. They have produced their Pumpkin Ale since at least 2004, and have made draft kegs available to other establishments in the area. When I had it last year, I found a nice assortment of pumpkin pie spices that was not overpowering. How much actual pumpkin went in to it, I couldn’t tell, but I also caught a creamy texture to put me in mind of pie crust or whipped cream.
The canned version weighs in at 5.4% alcohol by volume. Wild Onion joins Goose Island, Flossmoor Station, America’s Roundhouse, Mickey Finn’s, and Emmett’s Brewing Co. among Chicago brewpubs that have expanded into packaged beer for retail.
While many pumpkin ales have appeared in stores over the past few years, the CraftCans.com website credits this as “America’s First Canned Pumpkin Ale,” and they’re probably right. They also have a Q&A interview with Wild Onion owner Mike Kainz online.
Wild Onion’s website maintains a PDF list showing where to find its canned Paddy Pale Ale and Pumpkin Ale.