I apologize profusely for the delay. I know that everyone has been dying to know which pumpkin beers they should be chugging. Just kidding. No one should ever chug a pumpkin beer. Anyway, I started off the tastings on an extremely positive note. Beer Number One catapulted me into a delicious fall mood. But then I tried Beer Number Two (an unfortunate bargain option), and it made me want to vomit. #2 tainted my taste buds, but I’m battling back (by switching to red wine for a minute). Tis the season for fall beverages, and I want to share my tasting experiences with all of you! The terrible beer will be unveiled in time, but first I want to tell you about my favorite so far (already surpassing all of last year’s contenders):
BEER BEING REVIEWED
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
Smuttynose Brewing Co. (Portsmouth, NH)
“Ale Brewed With Pumpkin Puree & Spices”
The label is Smuttynose-basic. Name and a photo. And for this particular brew, you get a straight up pumpkin. You know what you’re getting yourself into. Simplicity appreciated.
Smuttynose is not overpowering in its smell whatsoever. Most notably, when whiffing, you don’t get the feeling you’re about to eat some pie (or drink something curiously similar to a pie). It smells of lightly spiced beer with pumpkin undertones. Emphasis on beer.
Pleasant surprise! The pumpkin flavor is much more present in taste than in smell. The pumpkin comes across as complimentary to the body of the beer versus being a bossy flavor.
The spice is subtle, as hinted in the aroma, but it gives the beer a light edge. This pumpkin brew is not sweet but extremely drinkable.
NOT overly sweet or squashy (thank god), it’s a pumpkin beer that knows it’s a beer (and not a pie). Not too heavy – it feels possible to drink more than one in a row (often a rarity with novelty-flavor beers). I recommend this easy-flowing fall treat beer if you’re ready to start pumpkin-dabbling.
4/5 pumpkins. Out of the gate, this one feels hard to top!
BEER BEING REVIEWED
Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
The Boston Beer Company (Boston, MA)
“Ale Brewed With Pumpkin and Spices”
5.7% ABV LABEL
The Sam Adams label you recognize and feel comfortable with – with a few orange and brown touches. They don’t need to mess around with pumpkin pictures. I’d feel weird if they did. AROMA
The pumpkin is very present in the aroma, with some spices that help the smell edge closer to pumpkin pie instead of pumpkin-can-opened-during-baking (which tends to just smell like the suburban aroma of Devil’s Night – smashed pumpkins). PUMPKIN
A nice light pumpkin taste (closer to squashy in the taste, versus the quasi pumpkin pie smell), with minimal but present spicing, and Sam Adams beer flavor all mixed in there. SPICE
LIGHT on the spicing, but just enough to not make it feel like you’re drinking squash beer. This is probably the best balance of pumpkin v. spice I’ve had so far. THOUGHTS
A lighter Sam Adams beer with squashy pumpkin puree mixed in to keep it at the appropriate power level for a pumpkin beer. Not as bold in taste as their Octoberfest, which I think works here. A nice easy-to-drink pumpkin beer without losing touch with being a beer. Meeting me in the middle, how nice! RATING
3.75/5 pumpkins. Favorite so far.
BEER BEING REVIEWED
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware)
“A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg”
Plain. Almost boring. AROMA
Like beer… maybe a little spice in there too. Pumpkin, where are you? PUMPKIN
Fake out with the aroma… I tasted pumpkin! Squashy up front. After-taste that I do not love. Just kind of bitter. SPICE
The spice isn’t really there, for as much as the label is telling you about. I was not finding brown sugar and cinnamon on my tongue, that’s for sure. I wanted a little balance with the spicing. The hoppiness of this beer was breaking through any other flavoring. THOUGHTS
This is definitely full-bodied as the label states, but not very balanced in its flavoring. I think this would be fairly fantastic with some fall foods, and it makes me want to be sitting on a porch in a sweater. Listening to football on the radio. But back to the beer.. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. The taste was great if I kept up with my sipping, but if I let up, the finish was really not making me happy. RATING
I have an obscene hankering (hilarious combo of words) for pumpkin beer this season. I’m going to do my best to sample a wide variety and provide my thoughts. I am in no way a beer aficionado, a beer snob, I don’t have a microbrew degree etc. I just like a good beer, and I am an elitist in life, so I have a lot of opinions. I wish I had a loftier goal for this, but I don’t. Let’s do this! BEER BEING REVIEWED
Uinta Brewing Co. (Salt Lake City, Utah)
“Ale brewed with pumpkin & spices”
Simplistic, straight-forward. Great colors (the orange is a hue I love), and a huge upgrade from its previous label, which was ugly. Sorry. AROMA
After popping the cap off this short bottle, you get a nice whiff of pumpkin and spice. It smells like pie-baking, and it smells like I’m in for something good. PUMPKIN
Where the hell is the pumpkin flavor? Fake out with the aroma. It’s incredibly light flavor-wise, not necessarily a bad thing, but if you blindfolded me I’m not sure I’d know I was drinking a designated pumpkin ale. SPICE
The spice is there, it’s light and enjoyable. Not overpowering whatsoever. THOUGHTS
This is a very light beer when you actually start sipping. Punk’n is very easy to drink, and it would be easy to have several bottles. Not a lot a body, and I’m kind of wishing for more (which might be why it seems easy to drink). I like where it’s headed, I just want more. RATING
3/5 pumpkins. A lightweight pumpkin brew contender. Emphasis on the light.