Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Great Pumpkin Beer Taste Off - 2013 (Round 2)

Okay, round two of the Pumpkin Beer Taste Off took place last weekend. This round was much more interesting than last time…

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – Smuttynose Brewing , Portsmith, NH
We were hopeful for this pumpkin beer, as the brewing company is in New Hampshire, which is a great state to be in for all things fall. This beer had a nice, gold pilsner color, but no spice aroma at all. It smelled and tasted very hoppy without any spice/pumpkin anywhere. As a general pilsner or pale ale, this was a good beer, but it didn’t do anything for us for our pumpkin beer quest.

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat – Shock Top Brewing, St. Lois, MO
Of all the beers we lined up for this round, I expected this beer to be the least “pumpkiny,” but we were very pleasantly surprised. The color was a little darker than a pilsner and there was no spice/pumpkin in the nose, but the taste knocked our socks off! This beer was VERY smooth, with very little hops and had a very, very slight pumpkin spice profile. We found this beer to be a very good and easy to drink. I would serve this beer at a fall BBQ or backyard pumpkin carving picnic in a heartbeat.

Pumpkick, New Belgium – New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
We took a little break between these last two beers and the first two, as we wanted our taste buds to have a little break. This beer made us suspicious, as it not only had specific instructions on how to pour the beer, it also stated that it was brewed with “pumpkin juice and cranberry juice”. Hmmmm…

The pouring “instructions” said to pour ¾ of the beer into a chilled, slanted beer glass, and then swirl the last 2 inches of the beer in the bottle to distribute the spices evenly before pouring the rest.  I have to admit I was curious how this would turn out.

The color was a gold pilsner and there was no spice nose to it, but the taste was WTH?? Imagine beer mixed with cranberries and lemongrass…ugh. This might be a good, summer beer, but definitely not a fall-themed pumpkin beer…there’s too much citrus going on and they totally missed the mark on this one.

Alewerks Pumpkin Ale – Alewerks Brewing Co., Williamsburg, VA
Back to our homies in Virginia, we had high hopes for this beer and we weren’t disappointed! This beer had a nice, amber lager color with a very slight hint of pumpkin/spice. The taste was a very nice honey and spice profile, although it tasted like it had a higher-than-average alcohol content (not always a bad thing!). It was a very rich beer and of all the pumpkin beers we’ve tried, this one came the closest to our beloved Shipyard. This one will be close for a final contender.

Okay, so that’s it for this round. Like I said earlier, this one was much more interesting than the last one; we found some good ones! Stay tuned till next time!

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