Where Spotted: Ace Beverage, 3301 New Mexico Ave. NW
Gourd of the Flies: I hate pumpkin beers. Like, all of them. Even picking a “favorite”—say, Dogfish Head’s—is like picking a favorite airborne illness. Somehow, this is the one time of year when ordinary, appreciative beer drinkers devolve into squealing Starbucks fanatics, leaping at the opportunity to try the latest approximation of some misguided confectionery fantasy. How did cinnamon and nutmeg become such an invasive species of flavor? You’ve already taken our cakes, our lattes, our sweet potatoes. For God’s sake! Spare us our beer!
Punk Is Dead: But you still want to drink it, don’t you? Fine, here’s the money shot: Pumking pours a beautiful, clear garnet with ephemeral white lacing. Cartoonishly huge wafts of vanilla and nutmeg emanate—no cinnamon, huzzah!—and its pie-filling sweetness is tempered by spice, amounting to what might be a sophisticated take on candy corn. It’s one of the better beers in this bad genre, so if you’re nostalgic for the Halloween toothaches of your childhood, go ahead and start here.