Some friends and I were discussing pumpkin beers the other night and one of them suggested that since I drink them almost exclusively this time of year I should write about one for my next New Beer Friday. Then another jokingly insisted I write about all of them for my next New Beer Friday.
For the next couple of weeks I’m going to spend some time sampling and comparing every pumpkin beer I can get my hands on. So without further adieu, I give you the Great Pumpkin Beer Round-Up!
This weekend I did a pick a-six at my local ABC liquor and grabbed a bomber of Fat Jack for good measure. Here’s the breakdown of how they fared:
– Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale – Pours a golden orange. A smooth ale; very mellow with layers of cinnamon and a hint of allspice and clove. A little bland on the first pull but the flavors come out after a few sips.
– Harpoon’s Pumpkin Unfiltered Offering – Pours a hazy orange. Tastes almost like a pumpkin IPA if that makes any sense. It’s crisp and dry and has a very heavy vanilla and spice note with a full pumpkin flavor. I paired this with a Scallop Chowder once before and was surprised by how well this went with seafood.
– Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Pours a deep reddish-amber color. Has a nice toasted nutmeg note upon the first pull and a little bit of cardamom on the back end. It mellows into a smooth, slightly breadish pumpkin flavor with virtually no aftertaste. The overall experience is very close to pumpkin pie.
– Samuel Adams’ Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale – Pours a dark red, almost ruby brown color. Similar to their Harvest Pumpkin Ale only with a heavier pumpkin flavor exactly as expected. There’s a very pleasant and unique fruit note on the back end with hints of cherry and honey laced with what tastes like sweet potatoes.
– Tommyknocker Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale – Pours a deep reddish-amber color. Brewed with molasses, the Pumpkin Harvest Ale has to be one of the most unusual pumpkin ales I’ve ever sampled. Because of the molasses it had almost a touch of a spiced rum flavor which went perfectly with the pumpkin. I’ve heard from others that this overpowers the pumpkin but I didn’t find that to be the case at all.
– Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat – Pours a brownish-copper color. To be honest this one tasted more like a marzen. I found it to be quite mild and completely lacking in pumpkin flavor. Not necessarily a bad beer, just not a great pumpkin beer. Comes as no surprise however, as this is an Anheiser-Busch label.
– Blue Point Pumpkin Ale – Pours a clear orange color. Blue Point puts out a really good blueberry beer so I had high hopes for this one. Sadly it didn’t deliver. Had a very harsh pull with a rather bitter aftertaste and very little notes of spice at all.
So which beer comes out on top?
I’d have to say that Tommyknocker Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest is the clear winner this week. It’s solid pumpkin offering with such a unique flavor that I have to give it the round.
Samuel Adams’ Fat Jack comes in a close second as far as unique flavors go and the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale does the same for getting the closest to that “pumpkin pie in a bottle” flavor I desire from my pumpkin beers.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the Round-Up!
Tried any of this week’s pumpkin beers? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!
And remember… the food abides…