Squash your thirst with these pumpkin beers

To complement all those fall dishes and hearth-baked pies you'll surely be indulging in through the rest of the year, I've compiled my top five picks for pumpkin beer below.

Harpoon UFO Pumpkin, 5.9% ABV
This has to be my top pick in pumpkin beer. It's probably not for you if you're a no-nonsense beer drinker who doesn't tolerate sweet tones or fruity flavors, but if you're into trying new things, go for this. Subtle, aromatic and medium-bodied -- you can't go wrong.
Available at Riverside Market

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, 8% ABV
This is one of the best-regarded pumpkin brews around. The pumpkin spices -- cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. -- are notable here, and the beer won a bronze medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Its full body is best enjoyed with dessert.
Available at Total Wine, Riverside Market 

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, 9% ABV
Smashed, and they mean it. The folks at Shipyard took pumpkin beer a step further with this series, higher in alcohol by volume than the regular Shipyard Pumpkinhead, which is also a good drink. Try this if you don't usually drink fruity brews.
Available at Total Wine, Riverside Market


Pictures: Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale, 8.5% ABV
It may be hard to get this at a gas station, even one of those with a surprising stock of craft beer, but if you can get your hands on this Tampa-brewed gem, go for it.
Limited availability -- check your local craft-beer bar or store

Southern Tier Pumking, 8.6% ABV
Low-bitterness, light-bodied, this beer is made to complement a Thanksgiving dinner. Although it's high in the ladder of alcohol percentage, its light texture makes it easy to have more than a few and work up a nice buzz to deal with those long family nights.
Available at Total Wine