For the majority of you, it’s a three day work week that involves lots of food, and a visit to your family. We know that last part tends to bring out the drinking to cope gene in all of us, so we decided to review a tight, light ale that you could happily share with your father-in-law while guzzling far past the legal limit and watching the Lions be mediocre.  Just remember to sleep off that Tryptophan coma before you hit the road.

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Name:  Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: North Carolina, USA / Foothills Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 5.3%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Cottonwood starts off with North American and British Malts, adds real pumpkin, and is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger to craft a crisp and dry classic style pumpkin ale.

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Packaging:

Simple and focused on a modern text layout, with a view of the Appalachian Foothills in full autumn splendor. – Mike

With a bronze ‘slick’ label this bottle almost at a distance looks like it’s made of plastic.   And while the primary label might seem less than inspired with it’s simple branding I do appreciate the secondary label’s wealth of information about the ale, including some low SRM and IBU numbers that tell me right off the bat this is going to be a lighter beer with very little hop character. – Tim

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Color:  5.5

There’s nothing too fancy about the appearance of this ale. An orange hued amber has a subtle head that rings the glass, but with minimal lacing. It’s semi transparent and looks like it may be light in the body. – Rick

A crystal clear bronze-orange with some active carbonation trails and a fast & fizzy head from a very aggressive pour that vanished within seconds leaving zero lacing. – Tim

M- 6 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5

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Aroma:  6

I could smell this one from across the room. Squashy pumpkin, sweet pumpkin pie spices, and a hint of malt come together to form a quintessential pumpkin ale aroma. – Brittney

A nice bit of spice with lots of ginger and cinnamon, along with sour pumpkin and malty cereal grains. Subtle like day old pie crust. – Mike

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

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Mouth feel:  6

Wow! This ale is beautifully creamy with a good medium bodied feel to it. I thought it was going to be watery but was shocked at it’s build. There’s no bite or any harsh byproducts of the ginger and it goes down very smoothly. – Rick

Thin and a touch watery, with a insubstantial body.  The carbonation is vibrant and lends itself to a standard tongue-tingling sensation. – Tim

M- 5 / T- 4.5 / B- 6 / R- 8.5

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Tasting notes:  6.5

There’s a lot of ginger crispness, followed a cinnamon smack, and some malt. It reminds me heavily of an autumn cider, and while relatively insubstantial, there does seem to be a tiny bit of pumpkin lurking in there. – Mike

Pumpkin and cinnamon fair well in the ale with a malty sweetness that’s not nearly as overpowering as the bouquet could lead one to believe. A hint of spicy bitterness on the back end and the fragrant heat of ginger. – Tim

The aroma really had me expecting a little more flavor than what this one delivers.  I feel like it would be a great accompaniment for a fall meal and not compete too much with other flavors.  The spices are nice in that they don’t wreck your palate but you can still pick them out.  The pumpkin is there too, but also slight.  It’s traditional and delicate and that is not always a bad thing. – Brittney

I was taken by surprise with this little guy. The pumpkin pie sweetness makes it delicious, and the ginger has a light presence that really rounds out the beer nicely. There’s a touch of clove that balances the cinnamon and nutmeg sweetness as well, so they’re not too overwhelming. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 8

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Finish:  6

The finish was as expected, it does not linger but if you wait for it you almost get a touch of a sour tingle at the very end. – Brittney

I think the ginger might be the shining ingredient here. The way it dries the finish and allows for the pumpkin to stand out is masterful. With all the sweet spicing here, I thought it would be too cloying, but it finishes dry and tempts you for another sip. – Rick

M- 4.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 6 / R- 8

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Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6.5

The spice is not obnoxious, but it’s the first thing in your face without much to back it up. – Mike

The ale is actually rater well balanced between the pumpkin in the body and the cinnamon/nutmeg nose.  I really think the heat from the ginger adds an interesting twist to this ale.  – Tim

M- 5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

I’m a stickler for beers that are too sweet or too much like a dessert. That being said, I think this brew strikes a great balance in this department that not many pumpkin ales can claim. – Rick

It’s pleasantly dry, though it build’s through the glass. Fortunately it’s very swig friendly, which helps, as the ginger becomes a bit parching, so you’ll need that next sip. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 9

–         Multiple Drinkability?  5.5

It’s a nice beer but not something that would keep my attention for more than one. – Brittney

Hardly offensive, this could be a nice beer for a big meal if you wanted to skip the heavyweight high alcohol crowd. Myself, I’m missing a little of the oomph and bold declaration, which makes me feel it would get lost in a round of other beers. In other words, it’s a bit of a snooze fest. – Mike

M- 3.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 5 / R- 9

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Overall:  6.08

M- 5.08 / T- 5.42 / B- 6.41 / R- 7.50

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