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Beer Review #245 Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Not your typical beer review for today. No I don’t have a super rare beer that was aged in wine barrels for 12 months with flakes gold. Today’s beer review comes from Blue Moon Brewing Company, also known as Coors Brewing Company. I don’t review a lot of macro breweries as they don’t put out a ton of different beers, but I do occasionally bump into them (or a brewery gets bought up by them).

Harvest Pumpkin Ale pours a burnt orange color with a thin white head. It’s actually a really pretty color for a beer. The nose has a bit of pumpkin pie spice but not enough to scream pumpkin ale. There are some toasted malt notes along with a slight sweetness in there as well.

I was surprised to find that the spices carry over into the actual flavor of this beer. I’ve found that a lot of beers that smell as if they were lightly spiced pumpkin beers don’t carry that flavor into the actual drinking part of the beer. The spices are not strong by any means but there are there. The toasted notes follow  through along with a decent and balanced malt sweetness.

I actually enjoyed this one a bit. While it doesn’t really say pumpkin beer to me because of how light the spice flavor is, it’s a drinkable beer. This is a good transition beer for a newcomer to craft beer (even if this isn’t a craft brew). This one comes in at 5.7% in case you were wondering. While I probably will not venture down this beer’s road again, I can say that it was much better than expected.

Beer Review #239 Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah recently showing up in my local beer store and I grabbed a few bottles of their stuff based off of a suggestion from a friend (and their cool bottles). I’d never heard of Uinta before but I dug the bottle art and general feel of their product. I’ve mentioned several times that I’m a sucker for good marketing and their total package is a great example of good marketing. As a side-note I talk about design in my day job so I have a hankering to acknowledge good design.

I originally wasn’t going to get a pumpkin beer from the store as I’m avoid seasonal beers for the most part this year. But seeing as this was a new brewery to me, I figured it was okay. Punk’n pours a nice orange amber color with a soapy off-white head that quickly fades into a thin surface floater. The nose was outstanding in the fact that you can actually smell pumpkin meat (that term always grossed me out). Unlike those “pumpkin spice” beers, you can really get an idea that this beer was brewed with the real thing. There was a nice sweetness that was mixed in there as well along with a light pumpkin pie spice.

This beer tastes as close to a pumpkin pie as any beer that I have ever had. The pumpkin flavor is very noticeable and well balanced with the malt and spices. The spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and all spice,  come in at the end to act as hops and help finish out the beer. It really leaves a great aftertaste when it is all said and finished.

In my opinion this beer is everything that a pumpkin beer should be. There is real pumpkin flavor and the spices compliment the beer, not overpower it. I really like this one and I highly suggest it. (more…)

Beer Review #155 Blue Point Pumpkin Ale

I’ve already reached my last pumpkin beer of the year. I found myself in an Oktoberfest beer mood this ear and I didn’t purchase many pumpkin beers. I think part of the problem is that every brewery seems to want to be the first to get their pumpkin ale out. I saw some in late August! Not the time that I want to be drinking a pumpkin ale and by the time I do, like now, they are all gone. I hope the industry gets around to fixing that little issue.

I have had a few Blue Point Brewing Company beers before as they have recently become available in my area. Overall, I have to give them a thumbs up. The brewery is located in Patchogue, New York and they seem to be grown at a decent clip. Their version of a pumpkin ale pours a nice copper color with a thin white head. There is no hazy like there was in my last pumpkin beer. They also managed to get the label the right side up. Good start.

The nose is very “pumpkiny,” with lots of actual pumpkin meat coming through. There are some of the normal spices (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc) mixed in along with some sweetness. On my first taste I was shocked at how sweet this beer was. There wasn’t any pumpkin pie spice bit to this beer, but rather a slow fade into pumpkin flavor. The slow pumpkin onset was really nice.

I really enjoyed this beer from Blue Point. It was a little sweet for my liking but the gradual change to pumpkin flavor made up for any extra sweetness. I found the bottle a bit interesting because it said, “malt beverage brewed with pumpkin and spice.” I wonder if New York has some weird naming rule on beers where they need to be called a malt beverage if they fall into a certain category. In any case, this is a good one and I look forward to trying it out next year. (more…)

Beer Review #140 Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale

I have yet another beer to share from Wolaver’s Organic Brewing, errr, Otter Creek Brewing. This one comes in the form of pumpkin ale, since it is now pumpkin beer season. I always go through a love/hate relationship with pumpkin beers around this time of year. I think part of the reason for this is that, frankly, there are not a lot of great pumpkin ales on the market. A lot of them are just normal ales with pumpkin pie spice added, that or the balance that needs to exist in this style of beer just doesn’t happen. I think it is a rare thing to find an outstanding pumpkin ale, but very easy to find one that is alright.

With my rant (was that really a rant?) complete, let’s see how Otter Creek Brewing of Middlebury, Vermont handles their pumpkin ale. They brew this beer with pumpkins from Vermont. The beer pours a nice orange color with a white head and a crystal clear body. The nose smells like a pumpkin ale. I got clove, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon on the spice end with some actual pumpkin meat in there as well. I’m always a fan of a pumpkin ale when it is more than just spices.

The taste is lacking in any malt character. The pumpkin pie spices are there, but they are not overpowering. I didn’t get any of the pumpkin meat either. I found the taste pretty underwhelming compared to the nose. This is a pretty decent pumpkin ale, but again, nothing really stands out. It does what it says but doesn’t have the wow factor that I had hoped for. It’s good if you are looking for a straightforward pumpkin beer but for me, it didn’t do anything to separate itself from the crowded shelves of other pumpkin ales. (more…)

Beer Review #31 Pumpkin Ale

10-27-03I have had extremely limited access to seasonal beers here in Lubbock Texas. I can’t even get Sam Adams Octoberfest, yeah it is pretty bad. So every time I go to the store I look for any seasonals, if I find one, I pick it up. I recently found Buffalo Bill’s Brewery (actually it is brewed by Pyramid Brewing Company) Pumpkin Ale. I was all over it, and it was on sale!

Pumpkin Ale claims to be “America’s original pumpkin ale.” I have no idea if it is true, but it sounds good. It comes in a 5.2% ABV and has a plain orange cap. It was surely distinctive. Pumpkin Ale pours orange and is slightly hazy. There is a slightly off-white head that quickly diminishes. Almost reminded me of a soda’s  (or pop for those of you in the Midwest) “head.” It was there for a second, furiously bubbling, and then gone.

10-27-05The smell is mostly nutmeg with cinnamon, ginger, and all spice in there as well. Pretty much the spices you would expect from a pumpkin beer. There is some malt sweetness in there as well, but not much compared to the spice. The first taste I noticed some malt upfront with the spices in the end. Not really any hop notes in there. The spice takes over the ending notes. I kept drinking trying to find a few more flavors, but I couldn’t. The pumpkin part of this beer comes in as pumpkin pie spice, not pumpkin flavor.

The mouthfeel is very watery. There is good carbonation, it just is very light in your mouth. Pumpkin Ale by Buffalo Bill’s Brewery is a decent pumpkin beer, but there are much better examples out there. As I said before, this beer delivers on the pumpkin spice aspect of a pumpkin beer, but not much in the way of  pumpkin flavor. If you like trying seasonal fall beer, namely pumpkin beers, try it out to see how it compares. Your tastes might differ from mine, but I would not be picking this up again as there are a few other seasonals that I enjoy more than this. (more…)