Taste Test Thursday: Texas Pumpkin Beer

Which gourd-infused brew is the best?

Last October we tasted a variety of national pumpkin beers in honor of fall. This time around we narrowed the selection to Texas-only brews. I traveled to four different stores in pursuit of gourd-infused beers brewed right here in the Lone Star State. Here’s what I found, and here’s what D Magazine staff had to say about them.

[Editor’s note: None of the taste testers are self-proclaimed beer “experts,” lest anybody get their socks in a knot.]

The beer:

A. No Label Brewing Co. Nightmare on 1st Street Pumpkin Ale
B. Karbach Brewing Co. Krunkin’ Pumpkin
C. Lakewood Brewing Co. Punkel Pumpkin Pie Dunkel
D. Infamous Brewing Company Pumpkin Massacre Ale

Tasting notes:

No Label Brewing Co. Nightmare on 1st Street Pumpkin Ale

    • Tastes like Christmas — spice, joy, and cheer.
    • Spicy. Smells great. I’d sip on it.
    • Smells like fresh pumpkin pie. Tastes like pumpkin pie but has a weird aftertaste.

“Tastes like Christmas.”

– Holiday enthusiast
  • It’s like nutmeg flavored cough syrup. A seasonal novelty beer.
  • Smells like fall! Spicy, pumpkin-y and delicious. Smooth.
  • This one smells good. I like lighter beers so this one’s probably my favorite. I could drink one (or five) of these.
  • It smells like pumpkin. Kind of syrupy and citrusy. Festive!


Karbach Brewing Co. Krunkin’ Pumpkin

  • Good beer, but don’t taste any pumpkin.
  • This one just exists. There aren’t any real notable characteristics about B. I don’t not like it.
  • Smells good but I can’t smell any pumpkin. I can’t really taste any pumpkin either. But the beer tastes good.
  • A very genuine pumpkin beer.
  • No smell. Is this a pumpkin beer? Not bad, but no pumpkin to speak of.
  • How is this a pumpkin beer? I can’t taste anything festive. It’s not bad though.
  • Where’s the pumpkin? It just tastes like beer. Not very festive!

Lakewood Brewing Co. Punkel Pumpkin Pie Dunkel

  • Well-balanced beer. But again, where’s the pumpkin?
  • Smells like beef jerky. However, the taste is nice. I like the melding of the spices.
  • Very clean and doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste. Can taste the pumpkin, but it’s more subtle.
  • Like a seasoned Fat Tire. Malty and not too bitter, my favorite.
  • No bad, not great. Generic.
  • I could sip this on a cool, autumn day.
  • More apple-y than pumpkin-y. Eh. Below-average festive!

Infamous Brewing Company Pumpkin Massacre Ale

    “I would drink this while eating turkey because it kind of smells like turkey.”

    – Non-expert beer drinker

  • Oh! Kind of funky and I like it.
  • Also spicy. Kind of tastes like cough syrup. And Fireball. But without the presumed kick a combination of those two would elicit.
  • I like the smell of this one the best, but it just tastes like your average beer.
  • It’s like watery cereal. Next.
  • This beer smells like Thanksgiving dinner. Meaty. Not a fan.
  • Noooooo! I don’t like this one. The second sip wasn’t as bad, the first sip was just too different than the other beers.
  • I would drink this while eating turkey because it kind of smells like turkey, which I guess is kind of festive?

Tally up:

No Label Nightmare on 1st Street Pumpkin Ale: 4
Karbach Brewing Co. Krunkin’ Pumpkin: 0
Lakewood Brewing Co. Punkel Pumpkin Pie Dunkel: 3
Infamous Brewing Company Pumpkin Massacre Ale: 0

The winner is:

Katy Texas’ No Label Brewing Co. won this week’s challenge with their Nightmare on 1st Street pumpkin ale. The beer is part of No Label’s “Off Label” series which features limited edition specialty brews. The imperial amber ale is infused with pumpkin, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. The outcome is a seasonal and festive beer that’s conducive to cozy sweaters and fleece-lined bootsNow, if only the weather would follow suit.


So, how do you feel about pumpkin beer? What’s your favorite gourd-infused brew? Let’s talk about it.


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  • Marcus

    At least the Lakewood offering didn’t have notes of hobo socks after a jaunt through a pumpkin patch.

  • Socks or not, Punkel is not a pumpkin beer. It’s pumpkin-inspired since it has spices in the recipe, but it doesn’t have any actual pumpkin.

  • Michelle Chesney

    We have the Karbach Krunkin Pumpin up at Richardson Food Truck Park. It’s the best one in a can that we have found.