The 2011 Silver Award winner at The Great American Beer Fest, this beer is one of BJ’s heavy hitters. Available in numerous states around the country, they have attempted to take the craft brew format and apply it to a user friendly restaurant chain. That type of thing always yields some mixed reactions, but we have to say – The food is good, the beers are solid, and the atmosphere is nice. It may not be your favorite corner dive, but it’s a great place for noobs to familiarize themselves with accurate representations of a number of beer styles, and still good enough to satisfy a more demanding palate. In our opinion, BJ’s passes the torch rather nicely, and isn’t inducting your friends into the craft beer gospel what it’s all about?


Name:  BJ’s Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Texas, USA / BJ’s Brewhouse (St. Arnold Contract Brew)

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 4.7%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Brewed with “an abundance of spices” to recreate “Pumpkin Pie in a glass”, the details are scant on the origins of BJ’s brew.


Packaging: This one is tap only.


Color:  7

Sparkling, crystalline, and as bright copper as a freshly minted penny, topped with a head of the same width that’s bleach white. – Mike

The brew masters at BJ’s sure did a swell job of producing a great commercially appealing pumpkin ale, and I don’t mean that in a bad way either. The beer looks like a light lager with heavy carbonation and a great copper color. Very appealing for a random patron of the bar. It’s pretty transparent and the delicious looking head disappears quickly leaving scant trace. – Rick

M-  8/ T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 7


Aroma:  6

Huge pumpkin depth with a ton of sweetness and spice, mostly the usual nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. This aroma is the definition of pumpkin pie in a bottle. – Brittney

Gobs of cinnamon and nutmeg w a light undertone of clove round out our spice profile, along with brown sugar pumpkin, and a hint of oats. Quite fragrant, even if it is served a bit cold. I don’t get much on the malt profile though. – Mike

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


Mouth feel:  7

Mid-bodied with a medium carbonation.  The ale is very cold and that adds a crispness to it that bodes well for food parings. – Tim

Medium to light bodied; crisp and sweet without too much syrupiness.  Served this cold it really snaps in your mouth. – Brittney

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


Tasting notes:  7.5

Vast cinnamon and hulking nutmeg pulverize their way through a cool whip foam party to an all night pumpkin puree rave. It’s good for the same things that make house music bad. It’s loud, simple, and pervasive. – Mike

Creamy with nice notes of pumpkin, the spices seem trapped in a suspended state of animation due to the fact that the ale is far to cold. After a few minutes of rest the beer produces subtle cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger profiles.  An inherent malty sweetness comes into play as well adding to a satisfying crusty pie vibe. – Tim

This year’s pumpkin ale didn’t really vary far from what I remember from last year. Apparently, it was an award winner last year so I’m sure they approached it with a “why fix what’s not broken mentality”. It is a very traditional pumpkin ale with just enough pumpkin, and just enough pumpkin pie spice. Not to light, not too heavy.  It’s good because you can’t really place what’s bad.  I just happen to be a sucker for this sort of brew every now and again. Sometimes moderation is the key. – Brittney

For how light in appearance and aroma it is, I’m actually surprised at how good this pumpkin beer is. The best part is the sweet pumpkin pie taste with hints of a nice buttery crust. There’s a good bit of cinnamon as well, with a nice light hoppy finish. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 8.5



Finish:  7

This beer is close to being too cloying with sweetness, but the subtle hoppy aftertaste helps control the finish. It’s clean with a nice bitter exhale to recharge the palette. – Rick

The finish is pretty low key and short.  The crusty pie notes and abundance of cinnamon that carry on to the back end actually give me sensations of apple–not pumpkin–pie. – Tim

M- 8 / T- 5.5 / B- 7 / R- 7.5


Flavor balance:  7

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6.5

As with most touting the pumpkin pie in a bottle style, this one is slightly leaning towards the spice end of things. – Brittney

Cinnamon seems to lead the pack in dominant spices, with nutmeg there to calm it down a little. It does have a sweet gourdiness about it though. – Rick

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

Sweet, but not cloying or sugary, with some richness and only hints of dryness from the cinnamon spice. You might call that balanced. – Tim

As it warms the spice becomes a bit more drying, all in all though, this beer is quite even tempered. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 5.5 / B- 6 / R- 7

–         Multiple Drinkability?  8

Far too easy to drink, this ale sits firmly between pleasantly interesting and light enough to consume more than a few. – Mike

To be certain, this is designed as a session beer.  It’s not overly complicated so as to compete with the food at BJs.  It’s not high in ABV.  It’s clean and smooth.  I could drink more of these. – Tim

M- 9.5 / T- 7 / B- 8 / R- 8


Overall:  6.92

M- 7.58 / T- 6.17 / B- 6.83 / R- 7.00