Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Great Pumpkin Ales (part 2)
after much thought this is the final 5 in my top ten.
6. Fegley's Brewworks Devious Imperial Pumpkin Ale
this was also a new experience for me in 2011. taking advice again from the local beer rep i grabbed a single and am sure glad i did. at 9% abv the name of this beer says it all, devious. it was a toss up for 5 and 6 between this and the Schlafly's but the deciding factor was the alcohol. schlafly's did a little better job of hiding the burn. but both beer were enjoyable. this has a little higher level of carbonation and the drinkability is not as there as the others. but it does pack great flavor. more note of the pumpkin pie type flavors and less featured is the earthiness of the pumpkin. but this is another seasonal i will add to my list to keep an eye out for each year.
7.Wolaver's Will Steven's Pumpkin Ale
wolavers is the subsidiary of two different vermont breweries. it is the organic variety from otter creek which is also owned by vermonts larger brewery, long trail. merging all three enabled them to produce more, and reach more people. im glad it makes its way to nj every year. this beer has numerous qualities i enjoy before even opening it. 1, its organic and there is a lack of organic beer on the market today. 2, it local. and produced closer = fresher and better. 3, and probably by favorite, the pumpkins that go into this ale are grown within 15 miles of the brewery.
but for all the qualities i enjoy it was slightly disappointed this year. at 5.3% abv there was no problems with alcohol taste but it was lacking any real pumpkin flavor. and being much more carbonated than i would expect out of a craft beer i slowly got through the six pack in my fridge. the saving grace for me was being able to experience it on tap. quite different flavor and carbonation level made me enjoy this brew as a pumpkin ale and not as a sub par christmas ale due to the spices it did have. find this one on tap if you can. you may want to pass on the bottle
8. Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope
triumph brewery is brewpub that unless you live in the nj or pa area you most likely havent heard of. putting out a different offering of 7 sometimes 9 beers at each 3 locations gives this small brewery a loyal following at all 3 of its locations in princeton and new hope, nj and philadelphia, pa.
every year triumph puts out a great pumpkin ale. not 100% sure if each brewery has the same one or if all 3 differ slightly but either way the one in new hope is good! though 8th on the list this brew is still respectable and enjoyable. has a heavy malt flavor and just the slightest hints of spice and pumpkin balance nicely with the malt and ends up making this a nice drinkable pumpkin ale at 5.7% abv.
triumph also has tremendous food that they prepare from ingredients sourced from local farms. great local beer, great local food, and an enjoyable pumpkin ale year after year.
9.UFO Pumpkin by Harpoon Brewing
my first year trying harpoons "un filtered offering" (U.F.O.) proved that i had been missing out by not trying it in the past. harpoon makes one of my favorite oktoberfest brews but their pumpkin didnt have as much strength. this is a very nice beer that owes to the unfiltered technique harpoon uses. the pumpkin flavor isnt the star here but rather the spices. there is also a nice touch of hops and malt and the pumpkin is very faint in the end of each sip. but this one is all spice and malt. the low ranking is due to the carbonation level. if you didnt have taste buds this could be slipped in with a coors or other mass market beer. but the flavor makes up for it and at 5.9% abv, you may find yourself easily able to put a couple of these away then getting hit with the medium to higher level alcohol.
10.Post Road Pumpkin Ale
post road is a 5% abv pumpkin ale from brooklyn brewery. this is a nice earthy brew. and has a balanced combination of fall spices, malt, hops and yeast. there isnt too much complexity it to it though but its amazingly drinkable! this one can go down quickly and since not flavor is too overbearing then this is a nice one to pair with food. the only negative was that there was nothing specifically that amazed me. it was just easy to drink, and well balanced. would like to see if having this on tap would make a difference like with the wolavers.
there you go. a wide variety of pumpkin ales that touch on both categories of pumpkin's. sweet as candy, or earthy like the pumpkin. every one of these beers will give you a reason to be excited for fall year after year. just dont buy too much. most of these are made to be savored now and not aged. stick to the higher ABV brews if your looking to hang on to them til thanksgiving and after.
and once youre finished with your last one, the invasion of the winter beers will be wide spread in every brewery, pub, and liquor store.
To health and happiness....Cheers!