Bar Talk: Pumpkin Beers

Basic Becky & Rebecca Prairie

It’s Halloween weekend, and I almost made it through the month of October without talking about a pumpkin drink. I was trying to avoid it but decided that, since it’s the month of pumpkin everything, I might as well give in and share about a tasty pumpkin beer I recently tried.

There are a bevy of pumpkin beers on the market these days — and not all are created equally. Some are too sweet, some are too watery, some aren’t pumpkin-flavored enough, some rely too heavily on spices, and then, Goldilocks style, some are just right.

When it comes to pumpkin beer, I found that I prefer a stout or a nitro ale. I think that the pumpkin flavor is richer when it is paired with a creamy stout base; the overall experience is enhanced.

The Basic Becky from Prairie Artisan Ales fits my pumpkin preference perfectly. Ranked No. 6 on Beer Advocates list of pumpkin beers, the Basic Becky is a smooth imperial stout inspired by the forever-popular pumpkin-spiced latte and brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, clove, and caraway.

When poured in a glass, it is a very dark color, as expected, with a little foamy head on top. The beer gives off an aroma of a freshly baked pumpkin cinnamon roll, and the scent carries over into the taste. It’s not too sweet, with a hint of vanilla, and the spices are balanced nicely where one didn’t seem to be more overwhelming than another. The beer is creamy and rich without being syrupy and has a warming quality.

One of the best parts of the Basic Becky is its cheeky branding. The bottle label features a drawing of a pumpkin dressed like the classic Instagram fall girl: messy top-knot, wearing a scarf with a pumpkin-spice-latte in one hand, phone in the other, and surrounded by favorite items, such as a dog pumpkin, flower crown, fall boots, hoodies, etc.

Prairie released a companion to Basic Becky this year called Basic Rebecca. Think of it like Becky’s posh older sister. The Basic Rebecca has the same pumpkin spice imperial stout base as the Basic Becky, but it is aged in bourbon barrels for almost a year, “maturing and developing a superiority complex,” according to the brewery.