Whether or not you’re a fan of some of the larger produced seasonal ales, I have to take a minute to give them a little bit of credit where credit is due. While I understand that the smaller brewer has to rush and struggle to get the product out there in time for a season, and then quickly move on to the next, it’s certainly nice to be able to walk into a store around the end of the fall season and find the seasonal beers that were meant to celebrate the associated holidays. We’re more than aware that there’s been a lot of hub-bub on this topic, and it’s a tough call for us, particularly since we have limited resources to cover so much ground when the beers are released. Still, it’s nice to know you have a fall back to go with that pumpkin pie when you walk in the weekend before Thanksgiving, and for that, we have to say kudos.

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Name:  Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Colorado, USA / Blue Moon Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Wheat Ale / 5.7%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Crafted with autumns bounty of vine ripened pumpkin and flavors of cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Then brewed with a touch of wheat for a smooth, lightly spiced finish.

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Packaging:

Maintaining the traditional Blue Moon label with its wood-cut styling, this seasonal bottle adds a burnt orange color to the mix and replaces the standard pine trees from the ubiquitous ‘Belgian White’ brew with a field of harvested pumpkins under a soft baby-blue sky.  Once again as a mass produced ale, branding doesn’t stray far from what the good folks at Coors have been pushing for the better part of a decade and a half. – Tim

It seems that once a brewery reaches a certain amount of popularity, the labels all tend to read the same and look very similar, throughout styles and even between different brewers.  This is no exception.  It’s just a quick color scheme change with a pumpkin thrown in for good measure. – Rick

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Color:  6.5

A decadent orange – brown that brings the word MALTY to mind for me immediately, with a gently bubbling base that keeps an eternal hairline head on it. However, it does seem to be quite on the clear side, contrary to it’s non seasonal heritage. – Mike

My pint poured crystal clear, glowing amber in color and mildly bubbly. An initially airy head started heavy, and quickly dissolved away to no more than a thin layer of lacing. – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Aroma:  4.5

Rich gourd on a spicy bouquet carry over to a malty sweetness and add a definite fall air to this brew.  – Tim

Light on aroma, an earthy pumpkin is almost noticeable beyond a strongly present waxy malted wheat beer. – Brittney

Nutmeg defines the olfactory profile of the spices here, along with a touch of floral wheat and barely perceivable perfumed clove. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 3.5

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Mouth feel:  5

At first it’s light, crisp, and refreshing.  There’s a foamy tingle over the tongue.  But, after a few more sips it becomes dull and uninspired. – Rick

Smooth with middling carbonation, a slight medium body that could be a little thin for some–compared to more robust fall ales–but I found it unexpectedly fuller than I was anticipating considering I’ve drank a couple hundred Blue Moon’s in my day. – Tim

It’s medium bodied as can be, with a citric acid astringency that doesn’t seem to be as downplayed as I would expect of the branding’s other offerings. – Mike

M- 5 / T- 5.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 4.5

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Tasting notes:  5

Actually, not nearly as sweet as I had expected, this ale seems to focus primarily on the dominance of the earthy gourd quality of the pumpkin, which is nicely complimented by the wheat, though doesn’t appear to be as floral as the nose would imply until much later on the tongue. This seems to create a bit of a beer chameleon effect for me though, as it’s hard to peg the shifting palate. Some might call it complex, but to me it’s a bit more clash. – Mike

I’m struck by how different this beer is from a archetypal Blue Moon beer. With bready malts, a blast of caramel and a lot (and by that I mean, too much) allspice in the mix it’s really not what you’d expect when you see an established label pop into the marketplace and take on a micro brew challenge.  And while I appreciate deviating from the norm, I still feel like it’s also missing the floral/citrus notes and natural wheatiness that I want when the label says “Blue Moon”.  However, it is a brew that is generally trying to get your attention and wake your taste buds up and so they get bonus points for that. – Tim

To preface, I really, really wanted to like this one.  Blue Moon is my “grocery store” beer of choice.  Much to my dismay, I feel like they were trying to go for the “earthy pumpkin” end of things and not the “sweet spiced pumpkin pie”.  On one hand a smart move for a beer that is known for a clean crisp flavor and finish, on the other hand, it doesn’t end up well.  The spices are lost and the earthiness of the “vine-ripened” pumpkin is easily mistaken for the malt of the wheat beer. – Brittney

It has a good wheat profile, but that is the most dominant aspect here, leaving no room for any spices to really stand out, except maybe the clove.  It may be a good fall “harvest” beer, but it fails to capture the essence of pumpkin. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 3

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Finish:  5

I’m left with a small bite and overall lackluster pumpkin flavor.  It does go down smooth, but becomes a little too cloying about halfway through the beer. – Rick

The allspice and clove seem to play in a way that comes across unpleasantly sour to me , more like something has spoiled, than something intentionally brusque on the senses. It does eventually resolve to a more classical dry wheat finish though, which helps a little. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 4.5

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Flavor balance:  4.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

There is no hiding that pumpkin takes precedence over spice here.  It’s even implied in the description on the bottle. – Brittney

Blue Moon gives some good gourd, and I welcome that the pumpkin is distinct enough in the mash to be notable.  But, the allspice dominance pretty much nuked my palate leaving very little room to identify any other players in the game. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 2.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It’s dry and tartly like an English prostitute. – Mike

It leans on the dry side and shies away from being sweet at all, which is not appealing here. – Rick

M- 3.5 / T- 5 / B- 5 / R- 3.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Sadly, this just makes me appreciate the better qualities of a regular Blue Moon a lot more, and comes off as a heavier offering with less appeal than it’s sister brew. – Mike

This is a good inoffensive beer, I’d kill a few off with some food or at a really smoky bar where I don’t care too much about really savoring a brew. – Tim

Only by the fact that there really isn’t anything to hate about it nor anything to like, and you’re probably sitting there with the rest of the six pack. – Brittney

M- 3 / T- 6 / B- 5.5 / R- 1.5

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Overall:  5.08

M- 4.83 / T- 5.83 / B- 5.83 / R- 3.83

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