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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
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TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer & Other Fall Craft Beers

Invite Fat Jack and Oktoberfest to a fall beer
tasting. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE


We received an email from Innis & Gunn, an Edinburgh brewer that ages beer in oak bourbon barrels, announcing that their Spiced Rum Aged beer has arrived in the U.S.

It was a reminder that it’s time to switch to “fall beer.” Just as cooks make lighter or heavier recipes based on the weather, so do brewers. Some of the delights of the fall season are pumpkin beer and other spiced beers.

These beers aren’t sweet pumpkin pie, but you can certainly serve them with the pie. No matter how you serve them, you’re in for a treat: The pumpkin adds body, smoothness and richness to the beer, and the seasonal spices add complex notes.

One of Samuel Adams’ Small Batch Series, Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale adds 28 pounds of pumpkin to each barrel, along with allspice, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, The AVB* is a hefty 8.5% (by comparison, Budweiser is 5% ABV). Along with toasty smoked malts, this delectable brew salutes fall with layers and layers of flavor.


Samuel Adams also makes an Oktoberfest beer with those same roasted malts. After a sweet start, the roasty malt comes up; the beer finishes with a hoppy, biscuity taste we enjoy.

So when you’re next at the supermarket, roll down the beer aisle and see what fall treats await. Entertain your friends with a fall beer tasting to determine the best pumpkin beer, spiced beer, and other types you find.


Industry reports from chain stores selling beer across the USA show that:

  • More than half of the 25 top selling SKUs† for import and craft beers—including three of the top five SKUs—were seasonal beers or variety packs. These specialty products are from craft brewers, who produce small batches and have the flexibility to make seasonal and other special brews. This parade of new beers has developed fans who are continually on the lookout for new and exciting brews.
  • At the end of 2011, there were 6,607 beer SKUs in chain stores nationwide (not every store carries every SKU; some SKUs are only available locally/regionally). A whopping 743 new SKUs were introduced during 2011. Not only are there a lot of beer choices in the marketplace, but the rate of new launches is accelerating.
  • According to the data, the average chain branch carries 1,202 SKUs (that sounds incredible!). A growing number of beers are competing for limited shelf-space. Retailers carry what sells the best, so support your favorites!

    Check out our Beer Glossary.
    *Alcohol by volume.

    †A SKU, pronounced “skew” and short for stock-keeping unit, is a number/code used to identify each unique product or item for sale in a store. Different sizes of the exact same product (8 ounces versus 16 ounces, for example) are different SKUs.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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