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Beer Review #246 Boxcar Pumpkin Porter

I have yet another new brewery to add to my tasting lineup today in the Starr Hill Brewery. They are located in Crozet, Va and I have wanted to try their beers since the Washington D.C. season of Top Chef. I figure if some World class chefs enjoy the beer (even though it was product placement based) that it must be pretty good. I haven’t seen their products in my neck of the woods until recently and I grabbed a few of their beers.

Boxcar Pumpkin Porter pours a nice dark brown and has an off-white head. I always enjoy seeing a porter that isn’t black, but rather dark brown. In my eyes a porter should be a lighter version of a stout. The two cross in many areas, but you never see a dark brown stout and you can have a dark brown porter. The nose is very porteresk with chocolate and some smoky elements reaching out of the bubbles. I didn’t get any pumpkin or pumpkin spices on the nose.

The taste follows the nose at a “T.” There is a good chocolate malt flavor that runs through the beer and finishes a bit smokey. There wasn’t a hoppy finish but just enough to dry it out a bit. Again, I didn’t get any pumpkin flavor or spices. I don’t know if I just got an old bottle or if the other flavors masked anything that was there.

This was a pretty solid porter but I wouldn’t call it a pumpkin porter. It didn’t have any pumpkin beer qualities. If you would have given me this bottle without a label I would have told you that the beer was a porter. No more, no less. (more…)

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 #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…)