Attack of the Pumpkins! (Part 1)

Pumpkins! Quite a crop!

Pumpkin Crop

Yes, I grumbled because pumpkin beers were flooding the shelves in July. I was delaying the inevitable. Yes, for a while I focused on Oktoberfest Bier (and enjoyed them very much, thank you). But now Oktoberfest is over, it’s the same month as Halloween, and it’s time to give in to the pumpkin tide. As a bonus, these are very much to the liking of my family, where there is not a hop-head among them.

Captain Lawrence Pumpkin AleCaptain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale

Captain Lawrence says, “this is the perfect beer to drink as the weather starts to turn a bit cooler.” Yes, there’s good reason to wait until after July! Medium amber with a tight off white head. A light malty aroma comes with just a hint of squash and then some spice. The palette is crisp and again lightly malty. There is not much pumpkin at all, but rather a good ale with a hint of pumpkin, a refreshing beer. 5% ABV, 20 IBU, setting the stylistic pattern of minimal hops. This brewery is in Elmsford, NY.

Defiant Headless HorsemanDefiant Headless Horseman

A glass of dark pumpkin-y amber with a medium creamy head, this comes from Pearl River, NY. Pumpkin leads the aroma with a little shot of hops and bakery malt. There’s a tiny metallic note. After the aroma, the spicy flavor surprises, carried on a bed of malt. The pumpkin comes back on the finish, mixed now with the spices. There is more going on than the Captain Lawrence. 5.5% ABV

Schlafley Pumpkin AleSchlafly Pumpkin Ale

From St. Louis, this was a favorite with my friends, and with me. Pours chestnut with a brief bubbly off white head. Pumpkin pie nose! Absolutely! The flavor continues the pie and brings in bready malt (the crust?) and a little shot of spicy hops to join the cinnamon, nutmeg & clove. There is great balance among the spices as one then another stands out. Then comes a long spicy finish with that sweet pumpkin. 8.0% ABV, 16 IBU

Harpoon Imperial PumpkinHarpoon Imperial Pumpkin

This stout is an almost opaque cola brown with a brief tan head. There is a shot of pumpkin aroma as soon as the cap comes off, then it gets relatively mild with restrained nutmeg and perhaps butternut squash. No, it’s pumpkin: “We had some fresh pumpkin puree leftover from a recent brew of our UFO Pumpkin…” The flavor is richly spiced and lightly pumpkined with roasty dark malts coming almost to dominate. The finish says stout first, then nutmeg & cinnamon like a spice cookie, and only mild pumpkin. 10.5% ABV

WeyerbacherWeyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

They say “we set out to make a bold monument for The King of the Pumpkins!” This comes from Allentown, PA, chestnut in the glass with a brief off-tan head. Lots of pumpkin aroma arrives with spices in the background and a layer of warming malt. The flavor delivers spice and pumpkin together, and more pumpkin than pie, it’s not as sweet as some. There’s cinnamon & nutmeg & cloves–like many pumpkin ales–but Weyerbacher gives a little something extra with cardamon. The finish starts with malt and pumpkin but it’s the spices that linger through a long finish. Very good. 8.0% ABV, IBU 21

KukaLabelKuka Pumpkin Dubbel

From the Andean Brewing Company, Blauvelt NY, this fills the glass with deep amber with a moderate bubbly off white head. There’s a nose of musty fermented pumpkin and spices. Their beers are unique, featuring maca root in the recipe. This stands out among the pumpkins with a strong fermenting fruit flavor over medium dark malt. It’s almost a sour, and is only barely to my taste. Wraps up with malt and raisin. 6.5% ABV

Shipyard PumpkinheadShipyard Pumpkinhead

This was served at Growler & Gill in a glass rimmed with sugar & cinnamon, as appropriate as rimming margaritas with salt, and what does Shipyard write about it? “A seasonal favorite! Try Pumpkinhead with a shot of spiced rum or in a pint glass rimmed with sugar and cinnamon.” This pours amber with a light off white head, followed by a nose of pumpkin & malt & spice. The flavor delivers more spice than pumpkin with medium bakery/cara malt. It has a light body not quite watery. The finish is quite light with pumpkin & malt and lasts for a little while. I may have to look for some spiced rum! 4.5% ABV.

Flying Dog The Gourd StandardFlying Dog The Gourd Standard

Fills the glass with pretty copper and a generous lemon chiffon head. Pumpkin pie spiced with hops gives a nice big aroma. The flavor starts more melon than gourd with malt and pie spices and hops in the background. The hops emerge on the finish making this a nice variant on the less hoppy pumpkins. 6.7% ABV, breaking the mold at 60 IBU.

Yes, there’s more where these came from. After all, we haven’t touched the Dogfish, and we haven’t touched the superstars Pumking and Warlock. These will be along as soon as my liver recovers.

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