Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fall Brew Review

Autumn.  Where can I begin?  I love everything about it.  Cool crisp mornings, sometimes misty, crunchy colorful leaves in every hue of red, orange and yellow, pumpkin, spice, coffee, hot apple cider...I could go on and on.  One thing that I look forward to every year is all of the pumpkin beers and ales that come out.  I have compiled a list of some of my favorites and a couple that caught my eye but were lacking in my palate's preference.  I will be the first to admit that I am a judger of labels.  A label is the first thing that catches my eye, then the description.  I don't like a brew that's too bitter, yeasty, or dark. An intriguing and flavorful smell is also desirable.  It is with these qualifications that I begin my list.
1. First up is Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale, from St. Louis, MO. At first glance, one can definitely tell that it is a harvest ale, with a prominent pumpkin on the front.  It's dark bottle and orange colors are very indicative of Fall. It is the best pumpkin ale I have had in a while.  It's a full bodied ale and complimentary to many different meals.   It's the embodiment of a pumpkin ale.  Containing pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove; all the ingredients of a pumpkin pie!  It has a slightly sweet pumpkin smell, hints of pumpkin spice and fall.  It's an 8.0% ABV, so usually one or two small glasses is sufficient with a meal.  Unfortunately, this ale is not distributed in Oklahoma.
2. A close second if Southampton's Pumpkin Ale from Southampton, NY. The dark bottle and orange label reflect the colors of Fall.  It's picture of a small country store or brew house with people gathered at the front, and the people waving from the window is a cheerful, cozy picture. It's brewed with pumpkin, spices, and vanilla extract.  It also smells slightly of pumpkin.  I have come to learn that the ones that have the sweet pumpkin smell are usually the best ones!  And it doesn't have a bitter aftertaste.  The beginning to end flavors and tastes are all pleasant.  It would go very well with a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  It's 5.0% ABV, and most definitely available in Oklahoma.

3. Coming in at number three is Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, from none other than Boston, MA. This label is of course the same as many other Samuel Adams beers.  The only difference is the wheat colored background color.   This Harvest Pumpkin Ale is brewed with pumpkin and spices as well.  According to the bottle, they use over 17 lbs. of real pumpkin in each brewing barrel!  It's not as sweet as the aforementioned Southampton, but still has subtle pumpkin flavors and an underlying spiciness.  It's smell is more that of a fresh squash without all the pumpkin pie spices.  It is 5.7% ABV.  

4. Now we reach the part of the list that contains my least favorites.  Abita's Pecan Harvest Ale is from Abita Springs, LA.  It's label is also very indicative of autumn and the harvest, with wheat, pecan branches and a palette of fall colors.  It's flavor tastes very subtly of pecan but is still sweet.  No bitter aftertaste with this one either.  It wasn't what I was expecting.  I was hoping it would be sweeter and more flavorful than it was.  Hubby liked it though.  This one is 5.7% ABV.

5.  Lastly is Bridgeport's Witch Hunt Spiced Harvest Ale from Portland, OR.  It's label is at first pleasing.  It looks very interesting, like a vintage Halloween label.  It's description on the back is also eye catching in its themed wording.  It contains flavorings of caramel, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I found it overall unpleasing.  It had a sharp initial taste and a bitter aftertaste that clung to one's lips and taste buds.  It was not as aromatic as others of it's kind.  It was darker than I cared for.  I will admit I was sucked in by it's attractive labeling.  But don't take my word for its flavor!  For those of you that like darker, more bitter than sweet beer, this could be the harvest one for you!  This one was 5.8% ABV.

No comments:

Post a Comment