Posts tagged ‘bitter’

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – Smuttynose Brewing Co.

What can I say? Sometimes we just don’t agree with other critics. If the spirit of craft brewing was strictly an experimental process, we’d be all about this ale. It’s bold, defined, and exceedingly different. But we like to think there’s more to it than that, and bold or no, this one just misses the mark for us.

On another note, we hope you all are prepped for a fantastic holiday, and have a few p-brews stocked away for the big day. Due to the sheer volume of stuff we’ve got to cover, we’re going to have to extend this years coverage through the end of the month, but hang in there, because we’ve got a few rarer options to talk about, and hopefully, it will give you an incentive (and head start) to track them down next season!

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Name:  Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: New York, USA / Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin ale / 5.6%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This particular ale opts for pumpkin puree over the raw pumpkin approach, and features it strictly in the mash phase. Traditional spices are then added to compliment the profile.

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Packaging:

You know what I dig the most about this very straightforward label?  It’s the photo of the pumpkin that has this “Farmer’s Market Homebrew” feeling to it, and the decision of the brewer to include the scientific name (Cucurbita Pepo) for the Field Pumpkin under it.  After that, Smuttynose imparts almost zero information about what’s in the bottle.  I like that duality of both science and mystery on display here!  – Tim

Our first photo realistic label so far, Smutty sports a pie pumpkin with a heckuva stem to it, along with a scientific species labeling of the squash pictured. Also featured is the company logo on the neck, a Harbor seal, and native resident of Smuttynose Island. – Mike

The image on the label looks more photographic than most of the drawn or “clip-art” images used on other labels.  Not much else is given to describe our beverage other than an “ale brewed with pumpkin puree & spices” squeezed in under a very generic Pumpkin Ale title. – Brittney

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Color:  5.5

Mustard and tangerine highlight this glass, giving it the reminiscence of fresh pumpkin rind rather than inviting ale. A single finger head also slowly dissipates to a thinner line, with an impressive amount of lacing. – Mike

Hazy orange like a soft field fog hovering just above the earth on an early sunrise in a pumpkin patch.  And, to literally top it off, we get a massive two-finger head with slow dissipation leaving clingy lacing all around. – Tim

M- 4 / T- 6.5 / B- 8 / R- 4.5

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Aroma:  7

Initially it smells sweet with overtones of nutmeg.  Then, the sour pumpkin notes start to work their way in creating a nice mixture. – Rick

Earthy raw pumpkin, sweet caramel, spicy nutmeg, smooth vanilla and a touch of musk are the main points I’m getting with a quick hinted finish of woody citrus.  It’s almost as if they have infused the beer with the 1972 perfume Jovan Musk for women. – Brittney

M- 7.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 8 / R- 6.5

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Mouth feel:  5.5

The refreshing part is that it is not another medium to heavy bodied beer that coats your mouth with a syrupy sweetness.  This one is slightly lighter, crisp, and bitey.  Its active carbonation excites the palate and the dryness brings warmness to the tongue.  – Brittney

I was taken aback by the abrupt mouth wide tingle that seems to mask any flavor at first.  It’s heavily carbonated and the bitterness leaves my tongue dry. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 5 / B- 7.5 / R- 3

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Tasting notes:  5

There’s an intensity and bitterness here that I can only describe as oaky and earthy, with the hops playing a grand slam role in the profile. The effect tends to regulate the pumpkin more to the vegetable realm, but in all honesty, the intensity of this brew’s foundation doesn’t seem to have any intention of playing the dessert game, thereby letting the spices play a similar bitter mash up on the senses. – Mike

The beer doesn’t hide behind the spices or the pumpkin.  Of the spices I taste mostly nutmeg and some cinnamon but I also taste the raw earthy pumpkin and the sweet caramel smoothness.  The hops are very prevalent and bring a slight floral, citrus note into the mix creating a very distinctive pumpkin beer option. – Brittney

The sweetness in this beer is minute under such a dry and bitter body that I did not expect.  It’s also a little tart and sour from the pumpkin puree. – Rick

Wow…that was not what I expected from a fall ale!  With no warning on the label, this bad boy is astringent and bitter as sin.  It would appear that these guys have crafted a hoppy, citric beer, that is way more in line with Smuttynose’s IPA offerings than with what the general consensus would call a ‘pumpkin ale’.  It’s floral with notes of oranges and grapefruit that have been dusted with dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 4

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Finish:  5

Clean, crisp, and peppery, there’s yet another unusual aspect to this beer, that seems to want to dance the floral and earthy IPA dance, leaving the malts a bit in the dust. – Mike

Long and dry, with the grapefruit carrying the torch to the bitter (literally) end.  I’ve had some dry IPA beers in my day but this one damn near needs a chaser of water to help get it down.  – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 4

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Flavor balance:  4.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

What pumpkin there is in the nose is lost in the body and only hints on the close.  The spice is even superseded by the hoppy bitterness. But, as the initial shock wears off you do get touches here and there.  I guess what I’m saying is that neither the pumpkin nor the spice are predominant over the citric notes. – Tim

The pumpkin puree that is used in the making of this brew leaves it too sour and dry to be able to find any spices. – Rick

M- 5.5 / T- 4 / B- 7 / R- 2.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

A traditional pumpkin flavor is lost here, leaving the ale to be overly bittered and sour, and any sweetness is out of the question. – Rick

It’s dryness is only broken by a brief moment of respite on swallow, where the malts finally make an appearance, before plunging back into a liquid orange pit never to be heard from again. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 3.5 / B- 6 / R- 2

–         Multiple Drinkability?

One or two would probably be my limit.  It has good flavor but the dryness is super harsh.  – Brittney

Overall this beer is complex, intense, and intriguing as hell. That said, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, or the casual pumpkin seasonal approach. Smuttynose has crafted something here for those that take their beer style preference seriously, and have no tolerance for traditional pumpkin offerings. That said, it seems to be of more value to me as a sense of showmanship, than a seasonal session ale. – Mike

Hop heads might just adore this, but with a lackadaisical approach to balancing the pumpkin and spice against the citrus and floral profile, I’d have to ask why you’d even chose this beer over your favorite IPA….unless you just wanted to be ‘festive’. – Tim

M- 6 / T- 4 / B- 6.5 / R- 1.5

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Overall:  5.42

M- 5.67 / T- 5.17 / B- 7.25 / R- 4.00

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Ichabod Pumpkin Ale – New Holland Brewing Co.

I have to admit, I’m excited to try this one. It’s been staring at me from the back of the fridge for a few weeks now, and anyone that knows my family closely, knows that we’re kind of obsessed with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (isn’t Tim’s picture up there rad by the way?). Suffice to say, from my dad reading it to us every Halloween as a kid, to the amazing animated Disney version, and yes, even the questionable Johnny Depp movie ( My brother particularly likes it for the sheer decapitation factor, and of course, the Walken), suffice to say, it’s a big deal that has imprinted on me, and always pops into my head (and quickens my pace) when crossing old wooden bridges.

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Name: Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer:  Michigan, USA / New Holland Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%: Pumpkin Ale / 5.2%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Combining malted barley, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this brew is designed to compliment pairings of roasted poultry, root vegetables, peanut sauce, and caraway.

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Packaging:

Washington Irving’s tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hallow is one of my favorite American short stories–on that point alone I’m predispositioned to dig on this packaging with its representation of the pumpkin-headed specter astride his spooky steed. – Tim

Creepy and classic like most things should be this time of year.  The images on the label stay true to its name with only a slight mention of pumpkin ale.  The tiny statement on the front of “Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices with spices added” makes me think this might be a little heavy on the spice end. – Brittney

If Washington Irving’s classic tale was an animated series designed to creep the hell out of Saturday mornings in the 90’s, this label would surely be the perfect nightmare inducing adversary, complete with haunting glow and a red eyed steed. It also seems to imply we might be drinking a beer made out of his head, which explains why that pumpkin looks pissed. – Mike

A nice spooky illustration of the infamous headless horseman brandishing a menacingly evil looking jack-o-lantern in one hand, as he guides his ghostly steed with the other.  You can tell right away that this pumpkin ale is just a little bit different from the others. – Rick

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Color:  7.5

 Beautiful antiqued lace foam draping down the sides of the glass ever so slowly, to compliment the burnt sienna (yeah, I went there) sea glass coloration. This definitely isn’t headless. – Mike

Dull amber-brown and slightly cloudy, it doesn’t have the usually orange glow of some of the spiced ales that we have visited thus far. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 7 / B- 6.5 / R- 7.5

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Aroma: 6

Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove all come on the nose almost immediately with the cinnamon leading the charge. Further back in the pack, an air of fresh pumpkin is met with a noticeable zing of sharpness portending an impression of the hops-forward drink to come.  – Tim

This pumpkin ale pours a great deep amber, almost brown in a molasses like quality.  Great lacing is left behind by the frothy head that quickly settled after the pour.  Very appealing in collaboration with the aroma. – Rick

This sucker smells like it’s soaking in nutmeg, and has a rather pungent hop aspect to it. I do get a hint of the barley malt as well, but more as a sense of fleeting charred sweetness. – Mike

Getting most of our usual three, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin dominate the very slight nose on this one.  The only unusual quality of the aroma is the pumpkin smells baked, if not slightly burned. – Brittney

M- 4 / T- 6 / B- 6.5 / R- 7

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Mouth feel: 6

There’s a great presence on the pallet from this one right off the bat.  It delicately dances between medium and light bodied while settling across the tongue with a nice tingle. – Rick

Just on the cusp of medium bodied with a hint of wateriness and medium carbonation.  To be honest, I expected more zip from this brew.  I was expecting a bang but all I got was a whimper. – Tim

The experience of the mouth feel on this one is quick and to the point.  The carbonation really expands in your mouth.  It’s very smooth, has excellent crispness and ends slightly dry.  – Brittney

M- 4 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 6

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Tasting notes: 5.5

As predicted, Ichabod is hoppy and bitter but not flowery like an IPA, this is a surprisingly citric and vegetal ale with notes of grapefruit along with cinnamon and nutmeg and bready malts. The pumpkin is more subdued but the undercurrent of flavor is there.  The spice level is more restrained than I’d imagined it’d be based on the bouquet.  However, it all rubs me the wrong way.  It’s not a traditional fall ale, with none of the expected sweetness and, yet despite the outburst of hops it’s not floral enough for me to appreciate it as an IPA. – Tim

Well this is an interesting approach. Dry and vegetal, but with a definitive spice presence, I really don’t get even a touch of sweet out of this brew, but more a glimmer of vanilla cream sans sugar and white tea. It’s certainly intriguing as a curio, but I have to be honest and say, while it’s certainly innoxious, it’s unfortunately because it comes off rather benign. – Mike

It looks full bodied but tends to taste more like a medium bodied brew with a nice addition of bitter hops.  I don’t expect to get this good of a beer with a fairly low ABV, but I was pleasantly surprised. – Rick

I was hoping for a little more complexity with this.  I especially would have liked to taste a little more of the slightly burned aroma that I picked up on the nose, I feel like it would have given Ichabod a little more character. – Brittney

M- 3.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 6 / R- 8

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Finish:  6

Cinnamon whisps away with an unexpectedly clean and at once foggy feeling, leaving just a slight bitter facet to the end of a swig. – Mike

This one starts with the sweet aroma, and ends with the nice bite from the hops.  I also notice just a slim hint of actual pumpkin at the very end just to cap off this ales experience. – Rick

Long, bitter, bone dry finish with a lingering tartness that I find intriguing but not overly satisfying. – Tim

M- 5 / T- 5 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Flavor balance:5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

Unfortunately the unsweetened approach of the pumpkin here seems to get lost in the fold, leaving only a heavy hand of nutmeg against the beers foundation. – Mike

The hops overpower everything pushing the pumpkin and spice levels down so that they might balance against each other, but you’d never know it. – Tim

M- 3 / T- 4 / B- 7 / R- 6

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

This one is surprisingly on the dry side.  You would think with all of the spices that it might be sweet but it’s like the difference between cinnamon sugar and the cinnamon challenge. – Brittney

I keep wanting to think I’m catching a hint of some kind of brown sugar or something here. But the more I think about it, the more it just seems like the char off the bottom of a pot caramel was cooked in. – Mike

It’s a tad cloying, especially at the end of the bottle, but there’s a nice dryness from the hops that I find really help balance this minor drawback. – Rick

M- 3 / T- 4 / B- 6 / R- 7.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I’d like to by bottles of this to have at parties just because it label screams “This is Halloween” to me over and over again, but I’m afraid someone might actually drink it.  It’s not a terrible beer.  Far from it.  But, it’s just too perplexing to try and decipher the intention of the brewer here. – Tim

I’d be curious to try this directly with the food pairings suggested or a sweet dessert, as that might certainly provide some depth to the intention of this brew. I end up for now though, underwhelmed and wishing for something a bit more exciting. – Mike

M- 4.5 / T- 4 / B- 7.5 / R- 8

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Flavor balance: 6.00

M- 4.75 / T- 5.17 / B- 6.67 / R- 7.41

Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewers

In the spirit of our recurring rhyme scheme pumpkin beer labels, we give you an ode to Pumple Drumkin:

Once in awhile you acquire a beer,

That decides it should drop it’s Halloween sneer,

But as cute as it is with it’s pumpkin faced critter,

It’ll knock your teeth in, ’cause those hops, man, they’re bitter.

Also, keep checking back frequently, because with Samhain just a little more than a week away, we’re gonna be getting hammered and hammering out a number of our more devious looking pumpkin beers, and saving the rest for turkey time.  That means more updates for you, and less sleep for me. But hey, you’ve earned it, right? Right?!?!

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Name:  Pumple Drumkin

Place of Origin / Brewer: Massachusetts, USA / Cisco Brewers

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 6.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Brewed in Nantucket, Massachusetts, Pumple Drumkin is a hop forward ale brewed with pumpkin and spices, dreamed up by a former baker to resemble pie crust. Cisco also has a great craft beer slogan worth noting, self proclaiming “Nice beer, if you can get it”.

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Packaging:

Complete with rhyming couplets and a pumpkin headed toddler looking thing, Pumple Drumkin wins points in my books for either great whimsy, or at least the best drunk slur inspired name to date. – Mike

This handicraft DIY label makes me smile.  It’s like a kid friendly beer, or rather I should more correctly say it makes me feel like a kid again.  A kid with beer!  – Tim

I’m not going to lie; the cute cartoon-ish imaging initially caught my eye.  Label me now, I don’t mind.  Part of the reason I love fall is Halloween, most of the reason I love Halloween is costumes and candy, kid stuff.  This label and silly name make me feel like a kid again.  It also has a cute little story about a Pumple named Drumkin to try and convince you that this beer wasn’t named by someone who had had one too many.  Also, beer is not kid stuff.  Please drink responsibly. – Brittney

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Color:  8

This ale is a sweet looking dark amber that glows in the light.  There’s a fair head on top that is almost creamy and very appetizing with decent lacing. – Rick

This has a gorgeous dark apricot color–the kind you see when you cut dried fruit in half.  I think the more that we review these pumpkin beers the more enamored I’ve become with foggy, unfiltered-esque ales.  There is mystery in there, like staring into a crystal ball awaiting the magical first sips to make everything clear again. – Tim

Slightly cloudy and amber to copper colored with a dull clarity and a head that stays put. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 7.5 / B– 8 / R- 8

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Aroma:  7

Cinnamon and clove waft over a malty toffee pond, with a deep rooting earthen cloister of nutmeg and peaches. – Mike

In something of a rarity, the sweet herbaceousness of freshly cut pumpkin leads the pack, followed closely by the zip of allspice, earthy cumin and a touch of cinnamon on the close.  – Tim

The aroma is pretty faint.  I’m getting a creamy vanilla initially, pumpkin, and then some ale with a little spice at the end.  The aroma is setting the tone for a creamy well balanced brew.  – Brittney

M- 6.5 / T– 7.5 / B– 7.5 / R– 7.5

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Mouth feel:  6

Very light, pretty watery.  The intense tingle from the carbonation really stands out here making each sip force you to take notice of this great brew. – Rick

It’s a pretty medium bodied beer with lively carbonation.  Each sip really expands in your mouth and then leaves with an almost dry moment after you swallow.  I wouldn’t consider this smooth; every moment it’s in your mouth it’s reminding you that it’s there. – Brittney

Its got a nice bit of body to it, that’s for sure. There seems to be a solid bit of astringency to it as well though, and while it doesn’t detract a whole lot, I feel like it’s distracting to the palate providing a bit more bite, than definition. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 6.5 /  T- 7 / R- 7.5

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Tasting notes:  6.5

The hops really spring to life in this one, giving it a nice bitterness. There’s a notable smoky quality as well, with a fruited pumpkin that comes out in the back-end. Not unsurprising, the clove tends to take over the spices a bit as we’ve seen with other brews, but I can pick out a bit of the cinnamon in particular. The rest seem a bit masked in the slightly sour foundation. – Mike

Pumple Drumkin has a great sweet aroma at first, then it really smacks you in the face with it’s spicy profile and dominant hops.  I think it’s a great combination that works well in tandem to balance this brew. – Rick

Pumple Drumkin is at its heart a simple beer, and that works both in favor of the ale and against it.  The bite from the bitter hops and floral notes make it a damn good brown ale, but the pumpkin and spice are swallowed up in the body and lost completely in the mix.  I struggled to find them, but in the end, I just had to determine that this appears to be a beer for people that like the smell of pumpkin beer but the taste of a brown ale.  Sort of a non-committal beer for a non-committal patron. – Tim

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

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Finish:  6.5

There is brightness at the finish that is hard to describe.  I’m sure it has to do with the carbonation that sticks around and the spice that kicks into overdrive at the end.  Finally you are left with a slight dryness asking for another sip. – Brittney

Being an IPA fan I’m really loving the bite on this pumpkin ale.  That, combined with the great use of hops and spices really propels this beer to front of the pack for me.  The only thing I’m missing here is a little more sweetness. – Rick

Long bitter finish, the way a good brown ale gives you time to savor it, but for pleasant pumpkin spices settling into your throat on the way down, this one misses the mark.  – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 5 / B- 7.5 / R- 8

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Flavor balance:  5.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

It’s a nice difference from sweeter brews, but it seems to let the spice run free with only a note of pumpkin in the finish blended with a tobacco note. – Mike

The bouquet on this pretty great smelling of pumpkin and spice, but the body is almost completely lacking in both.  So, I’d give it a 9 on promise and a 2 on execution. We’ll just call it a 4.5 for all-around. – Tim

This beer is very spicy but I like that it’s not too overwhelming on the palate.  Sadly, I don’t think there is enough pumpkin here to really stand out and is lacking a little sweet kick. – Rick

M- 4 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 5.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

This is definitely a drier option than a lot of the dessert styled beers we’ve reviewed but I think that’s the point. It’s not parching, but really rather adult and the more particular drinker may find this a nice option for pumpkin beer without hammering the sugar. – Mike

The ale seems to have a tiny bit of sweetness on the initial sip, but it finishes pretty bitter and dry.  There’s no tackiness or cloying aftertaste with this one. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Nothing is overpowering to the point of holding you back from enjoying a couple of these. – Brittney

I’m a big fan of this ale.  The way the hops commingle with the sweet aroma is very tasty, and makes for a unique experience. – Rick

If I liked it more than my usual assortments of Brown Ales I might consider giving this one another shot, but those of you that haven’t found a good brown might want to take a stab at this.  Otherwise, I think it kinds of fails as a pumpkin beer, so that diminishes my excitement about drinking more than one. – Tim

M- 3.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 8 / R- 6

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Overall:  6.58

M- 5.75 / T- 5.92 / B- 7.58 / R- 7.50

Post Road Pumpkin Ale – Brooklyn Brewery

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

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.”