Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Ales (part 1)

tis the season for the wide variety of pumpkin ales, pumpkin stouts, and all other types of alcohol educed pumpkin beverages. after discovering an oktoberfest at a much younger age and realizing that every season holds a bounty of new beers, pumpkin ales are the ones my palate becomes most excited for!

this years batch has been a surprise in different ways. while some breweries annual offering was a disappointment, others where a home run. here is my top 10 list for pumpkin beverages for 2011. feel free to comment

1. Riverhorse Hipp-o-Lantern

this is RH's second year in the pumpkin business and wow what a beer! coming in at a high 8.2% abv you would expect pumpkin flavored rubbing alcohol. but the NJ brewery hit this one right on the head. not too much of one thing and so much of everything that this brew excites with every sip. has the common spices you see in almost every pumpkin offering but this one goes further. and there is a slightest little warming note of alcohol after each sip that will be a pleasure around any fall out door fire!

2. Souther Tier Pumking

this like river horse is another big alcohol volume beer. advertised as 9% this is another one whos alcohol is masked well is the overwhelming amounts of spices and malts and other mysterious pumpkin flavors. pumking is by far the most confusing of all the ale. when first sipped one has to be reminded they are drinking a liquid and not eating a wonderful tasting candle or a pumpkin pie. although at #1 for me last year pumking slipped one spot due to the bigger alcohol flavor which riverhorse is lacking. still amazing though.

3.Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

this was one of my dissapointments. even though still listed at #3, in the past this was always 1 or 2 being shared with pumking. maybe gaining the knowledge that weyerbacher imported pumpkin puree from china turned me off, or it may just not have been as good. either way it is still a great beer and outdoes many others in this category. rated at 8%, weyerbachers version is not hiding the alcohol like the all the other big pumpkin ales from this year. is also featured more of a pumpkin candy flavoring and less of the earthiness like in the past. enjoy this one though while it is still around.

4. Smutty Nose Pumpkin Ale

the first of the the lighter abv beers to be rated. smutty nose puts out great beer all year that are well balanced and easy to drink. the pumpkin is no different. labeled at 6% this pumpkin features no alcohol flavor like the other so far. instead you enjoy what is somewhat a surprise. the earthiness of the pumpkin is the feature here. though there is plenty of spice in this beer it is much more a beer with pumpkin in it than a pumpkin with beer in it. but it is nice. has similar characteristic as summty nose's winter ale in its thick body and enjoyable caramel maltiness. may not age well like the the others due to the lower abv, but it is great to drink fresh.
*will let you know how this ages next year when the one in my basement is ready.

5.Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

this was a new one for me this year. taking the advice from local liquor stores beer rep i picked up a single. i dont usually stray too far away from the north eastern breweries but his advice is always good. shlafly is a big abv beer. the 8% abv isnt overbearing though just a warming kick after your done with each sip. its a very well balanced pumpkin that has all the right amounts of pumpkin, spice, maltiness, and warm touch in the end. i will be keeping an eye out for this one next year.

thats it for now. next will be #5-10. enjoy the pumpkins while they last!

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