As October quickly approaches, I’ve accepted the fact that summer has turned to fall, that I will have to start breaking out the coats and boots soon enough, and that Corona’s most appropriate months have passed. From limes to pumpkins. All things related to pumpkins – pie, pumpkin spice lattes, jack-o-lanterns, and of course beer – make autumn that much more enjoyable. And I can completely understand that pumpkin + beer does not exactly sound enticing to all, but trust me, the spices and flavoring in both the beer and the pumpkin mesh in a fantastically autumnal libation. While many Bostonians might agree that the city nearly skips fall entirely, all of this pumpkin happiness gives us a reason to sit back and enjoy watching the trees change colors.
In “researching” this post, went to Trader Joe‘s and selected two types of pumpkin beer and sampled another at Alchemist Lounge. Reflecting on my opinions of each brew, I felt a lot like Goldilocks with her mooched porridge…too hot, too cold and just right – except mine was too light, too spicy and just right.
To begin, I went with the Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale. I think I would describe this as a transition beer. Its light enough to drink while the weather is still on the warm side, but still has the pumpkin accents weaving in and out at the end of a swig. I’ve been a big fan of Kennebunkport’s blueberry beer as a summery treat, but the pumpkin is okay, with the pumpkin part very understated. It was almost bitter at the end, but not sour, instead kind of like you’ve eaten too much sugar and your mouth rebels by tasting sour (or is that just a weird thing i do?) But overall, it’s drinkable and cheap.
Next up is the too spicy. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is a little intense for this beer enthusiast. It’s on the darker side, which doesn’t always scare me off. What does scare me off is the scary feeling like I’m going to get a mouthful of cinnamon and nutmeg in my last swig (think when you sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee or if the sugar doesn’t dissolve all the way and then the last sip is chock full of spices/sugar). My bf happened to love this stuff, and I really wanted to, but I just didn’t.
And finally, my “just right” pumpkin beer: The Shipyard Brewing Company’s Pumpkinhead Ale. For me, this is it. Its crisp, like a true fall day (corny, yes, but true), sweet, spicy and beer-y. The pumpkin flavor is aromatic and consistent through every sip. And something I have not found too often, Pumpkinhead tastes just as good out of a tap as it does from a bottle. And an added bonus, it’s brewed in the great northeast (Maine).
I suppose the “moral” of this beer tale is that sometimes you want more of a spicy kick and sometimes you want something more subtle. For me, the brewnette Goldilocks, the middle-beer is the way to go. Let me know what you think about these, or if you have more pumpkin suggestions for me, share! Cheers!