Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pumpkin Beers (updated 10/21/2017)

Here are a list of all the pumpkin spice beer I have used in descending order of my personal enjoyment rating. And before you say "OMG pumpkin beer, that's going too far!" pumpkin beer is not a back-invention for the latte.  Beer was made from pumpkins and other gourds by the early European settlers so this is a tried and traditional flavor combination.

NewBelgium Pumpkick is a really bright, balanced beer.  They hit on the idea of balancing the pumpkin, spice ad wheaty flavors with cranberry and lemongrass--which sounds like it would be a cacophony of flavors but is actually light and perfect balanced,  Extremely pleasant and my favorite pumpkin beer.
My rating: 8.5/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate: 7.9/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.2/10

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is a hoppy, slightly bitter ale with notes of pumpkin and cinnamon.  Full-favored and not sweet.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate (as of 10/13/2015): 8.4/10
NotAnotherBeer: 8/10
PassionBeer: 9.1/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.3/10

Leinenkugel's Harvest Patch Shandy is a mild, pleasant wheat beer that would be better for a warm day than the cool august period when it is seasonally available.
My Rating: 7/10
Offsite Ratings
Beeradvocate: 6.7/10
Aggregate Rating: 6.85/10

ScBhlafy Pumpkin Ale is a well-balanced pumpkin ale, leaning sweet
 My Rating: 7/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate: 9.3/10
RateBeer: 9.5/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.6/10

Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking Beer: A lot of people, including some serious beer aficionados absolutely love this beer.  But to me the packaging is better than the beer.  It is beautifully golden and the aroma is beautifully pumpkin spicy. But the flavor is heavily malty ad hoppy and that is 90% of the flavor.  Nice enough, but it would never be my "go to" pumpkin beer.
My Rating: 6.75/10
Aggregate Rating:
Beer Advocate: 9/10
RateBeer: 9.7/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.48/10

Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy is really very badly named.  There was nothing sweet or shandy-like about it.  It is a beer they call "shandy-inspired" (FFS).  It is a nicely packaged wheat beer with some citrus flavor but generally very mild.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate: 7.7/10
Aggregate Rating: 7.1/10

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is a nice ale but on the light side flavor-wise with very little in the way of pumpkin or spice to it.
My Rating: 6/10
Offsite Ratings:
RateBeer: 8.7/10
BeerAdvocate: 8.8/10
Aggregate Rating: 7.8/10

Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is a pretty okay beer but honestly I am hardy getting any trace of pumpkin spice from it at all It may be one of the earliest pumpkin beers (1995) but it is not one of the best. Revisiting it in 2016 it has grown on me a little, but is still sort of a one-note beer with no a lot of pumpkin spice action going on.
My Rating: 4/10
Offsite Ratings:
BeerRatings 7.2/10
Aggregate Rating: 5.5/10

Honorable mention to Slapshot Brewing's Gourd Damn beer which does not have a really distinct spice element as far as I can taste, but t is a very nice pumpkin ale.  Some sites list it as discontinued but I have no trouble finding it in stores near me.

For other takes on the relative merits of pumpkin beers check out: Thrillist.

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