Here in the great state of Florida, we’re blessed with long stretches of impossibly straight roads, and epic thunderstorms. You can thank both (along with some awkward flashlight positioning, and a few weird-ed out neighbors) for the dramatic shot above. Likewise, since we’ve entered the month of September, the great seasonal beer boycott should be well in the clear (we’re no scabs, but lets be honest, there’s way too much ground here to cover without a head start). So please help keep our grand little blog here growing; word of mouth, and tenacious social media promotion (read: not quite spamming), are all we’ve got! And don’t forget that #pumpkinbeer hashtag, it just might get you re-tweeted.

Also of note, Brittney’s bio is live on the initial Meet The Press… post, so backtrack a bit to find out what she’s all about.

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Name: Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: New York, USA / Brooklyn Brewery

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale, 5.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Throwing back to colonial America’s early days once more, Post Road favors barley and pumpkins for their spicy flavors, used hundreds of pounds at a time per batch, due historically to their plentiful nature as a harvest crop. A touch of Belgian biscuit malts also slides in to give a touch of idiosyncrasy.

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Packaging:

Classy and dynamic, in the keep it simple mentality. Two tone gray horizontal field with an almost hand drawn feel on the pumpkin, and particularly the “bird foot” style scratchings on the top band. Epic flourish on the “R” as well. – Mike

It’s sort of sad that the weakest part of this beer is the bottle it comes in.  Between the Bar Code, the Cash Refund and the Surgeon General’s Warning there is precious little room left for anything else.  All Post Road is offering is a simple header and a strategically centered orange and green pumpkin.  It’s hardly a standout bottle on a store shelf. – Tim

The label is kind of bland, but has a big pumpkin drawn in the center so it’s unmistakable.  The deep forest green background color is a nice difference compared to others though. – Rick

Classic to the point packaging, no messing around with witty names or graphics.  This label tells it like it is. – Brittney

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Color: 7

A bit more reddish / copperish with a hint of orange.  Had about a centimeter of head that settled down to a thin crown.  Gorgeous lacing. – Erich

Pours an attractive clear deep amber with a soft creamy head that lingers for a moment and leaves a few tell-tale laces in its wake. – Tim

Deep orange to the point of almost being a brown ale in appearance, almost like slightly overcooked pumpkin pie. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 7 / B- 6.5 / R- 6.5 / E – 7

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Aroma: 7.5

I keep getting a waft of perfume as this one rests next to me (it’s not me, I promise). I almost smell as much floral as I do clove, allspice and nutmeg if not more, but this beer relies heavily on it’s aroma for much of its allure and with good cause. – Brittney

You can almost smell the sweetness of a fresh baked pumpkin pie perfume the air when pouring a pint.  Nutmeg, Clove, Allspice and even touches of Cumin come through here–as well as grassy notes of fresh pumpkin.  My mouth began to water before I even took the first sip. – Tim

A faint whiff of pumpkin and subdued spice – less cinnamon / clove and more nutmeg / cumin.  Pleasant but a bit too weak. – Erich

I’m really digging this beer’s aroma because it seems to capture all the right spice elements without being too bold or dominant on the nose. – Rick

M – 7.5 / T- 9 / B- 8 / R- 7 / E – 5

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Mouth feel: 5

Despite a full flavor, the substrate of this ale is a bit on the watery side. There is a touch of burn on the carbonation, and a good bit of fizziness. Overall though, note the most exciting aspect. – Mike

Medium bodied brew with enough carbonation to give you a bit of burn on the tongue right off the bat.  It begins to coat the mouth on second and third sips giving a comfortable overall feel to the beer. – Tim

Like its appearance, this beer feels light and bright in the mouth.  Initially the carbonation was pretty lively and a bit off-putting but quickly settled out to allow the taste to be enjoyed. – Britt

M – 3.5 / T- 6 / B- 6 / R- 6.5 / E – 3

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Tasting notes: 6.5

A subtle sweetness is accompanied by a note of cinnamon, followed by a wave of bitterness that comes largely from the other spices (cumin, allspice) with just an inkling of hop bitterness buried underneath. – Erich

Pumpkin and bitter hops take the forefront with this brew. There’s a pleasant presence of nutmeg and clove in the mix, but it’s fairly subdued. To it’s credit, there’s definitely the workings of the ale here, and an almost maple sweetness that offsets the hops nicely. – Mike

This beer smelled so good, I was actually equal parts excited and apprehensive to drink it.  It’s not completely, 100%, overwhelmed by the spice but it’s right there front and center filling your nose with so much flavor that I sort of felt like I wanted to chew the beer instead of drink it.  However, despite the spice, it should be noted that Post Road has a fair share of malty caramels but it’s not as overly sweet as my initial ‘pumpkin pie dreams’ had lead me to believe.  – Tim

M – 6.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 8 / E – 4

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Finish: 6

It’s not often that I find a pumpkin beer refreshing but this one holds it’s own.  It’s subtle yet satisfying.  Neither the pumpkin nor the spice is battling for top billing; they both compliment the ale creating a well-balanced drinking experience. That being said, it does leave my mouth watering and wanting more. – Britt

Aside from the spice profile, the finish is too clean.  Spice bitterness lingers on the tongue which could be pleasant, but isn’t complex or interesting enough to be so. – Erich

After the initial bitterness of the hops upon first taste, the sweet spices seem to really come alive in the exhale after the swallow.  I’m not left with that sticky mouth feel that has been so common in other pumpkin ales from over sweetening.  Smooth and easy to drink, I’m finding Post Road’s Pumpkin Ale to be one of my favorites so far. – Rick

The bitterness lingers a good long time on the finish, blending heavily with the brilliance of allspice, and more than a pinch of nutmeg. While it might scare off a novice drinker, I found that the interplay of these aspects gave Post a rollicking edginess and a lot of character. This dog definitely have some bite. – Mike

M – 7 / T- 6.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 7.5 / E – 3

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Flavor balance: 6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

As I drank, I definitely found the spices to build in an additive manner, but I enjoyed that the pumpkin approach to this seems to focus more on the vegetal dryness of fresh pumpkin, rather than sweet pie, which allows the pumpkin to linger, rather than compete for dominance. – Mike

The fresh pumpkin is there.  It’s in the nose and it’s in the body, and that makes Post Road better than most other offerings that seem to be bottling little more than liquid pumpkin pie extract. – Tim

The pumpkin makes an appearance in the aroma but is absent in the tasting.  Spices dominate and that’s unfortunate. – Erich

M – 8 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 7 / E – 2

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

For me, this is just about the perfect amount caramel maltiness and sweetness coupled with those bitter hops and dry finish. – Tim

I like the dryness of this beer very much.  It’s not overpowering, or too dry, so at the same time I can still enjoy the sweetness. – Rick

No bones about it, this is a dry beer. Which isn’t a bad quality per se, and certainly sets it apart from many of the others I’ve had. But if we’re seeking balance, it’s heavily skewed in one direction, which I’ve gotta knock some points for. – Mike

M – 3 / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R- 7.5 / E – 5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Subtle enough to not exhaust the taste buds, I could drink two or three of these before moving on. – Britt

One of the biggest surprises this beer gave me was that at 5% ABV it feels (read: tastes) like it’s a lot stronger.  I think that perception in concert with prominent spice factor would wear on your palate pretty quickly.  – Time

Maybe it’s the lightness on the palate, or maybe I’m just a bitter man, but I found a pint went down easy as pie, and the dry aspect of this beer definitely plays at keeping you eager for the moisture of another glass on the tongue. – Mike

M – 9 / T- 4 / B- 8 / R- 7.5 / E – 5

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Overall: 6.42

M – 6.50 / T- 6.92 / B- 6.83 / R- 7.08 / E – 4.33

 

*Editors Note* (added 9/16/2011): We had a chance to chat with Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garret Oliver about Post Road, and he was kind enough to pass on a bit of interesting information on this beloved brew. Here’s what he had to say:

“The story of this beer is rather long and complicated, but I will try to distill it for you. Back in the 1990s, The Brooklyn Brewery bought a small New England beer brand called Post Road. Post Road produced several beers – a pale ale, an IPA, a strong winter beer. The beers were milder than Brooklyn’s beers, and we felt that the New England beer scene, which was underdeveloped, might appreciate these beers more than the more flavorful Brooklyn beers. After we bought the brand, we developed only one new beer – Post Road Pumpkin Ale. I can still remember the first time I brewed it, because I had to open over 100 5-lb cans of pumpkin puree with a small electric can opener!

To make this long story short, we were wrong about New Englanders; they liked Brooklyn beers better than Post Road beers and the Post Road venture eventually disappeared, except for one wildly popular beer – Post Road Pumpkin Ale. This left a conundrum – completely re-brand the beer as “Brooklyn”, probably confusing the consumer, or leave Post Road Pumpkin Ale as a stand-alone beer. The beer remains so popular that we’ve decided, for now, to leave it as is, even though the branding is vaguely confusing. It seems that no one minds but us.

The beer is made as many were during the colonial period – with large amounts of cooked pumpkin added to the mash. The enzymes in the malt break down the starch in the pumpkin into sugars, which are then fermented along with the malt sugars. The orangey color of the beer comes partly from the carotene naturally contained in the pumpkins. It’s a uniquely American beer style, and I think one thing that makes ours particularly well-regarded is that it isn’t very sweet, and it tastes like a beer rather than an overwhelmingly spiced pumpkin pie. And yes, it is great with the Thanksgiving turkey.”

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