Posts tagged ‘Company’

Count Orlok Black Pumpkin Ale (Revolution Series #666 STL) – Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

Orlock II

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the estate of Bram Stoker would probably disagree. Feel as you may about the overwhelming plethora of blood sucking freaks that have made their way pervasively through popular culture, there is no denying that some rip offs are better than others. On that subject, the seminal 1922 release of “Nosferatu” certainly rises to the head of the glass, so to speak. During the first World War, Germany had essentially banned all foreign films, and the side effect was the rise of the German Expressionist movement. Combining geometric absurdist design with intellectual explorations of dark themes, the films became a massive influence on many filmmakers, and remain cult classics to this day. Of course, while the presentation may have been wholly original, Nosferatu encountered more than a bit of a problem in borrowing content, namely the underlying plot of a slightly more famous vampire, “Count Dracula”.

Despite the iconic performance of Max Shrek as the less than suave, more than terrifying, rodent faced “Count Orlok”, there is no scorn quite like that of a widowed Florence Stoker. Perhaps rightfully, but nonetheless unfortunately, a court order was issued deeming the work a thinly veiled infringement of copy-written work, and all copies were ordered destroyed. It’s hard to keep a vampire dead though, and lurking about the shadows of Europe, a single print was recovered, copied by fans, and finally, distributed to become the silent iconic horror masterpiece adored by so many today.

Since it is now in the public domain, you can jump to the bottom of the blog to watch the full movie and download a copy for yourself. Happy Halloween!


Name:  Count Orlok Black Pumpkin Ale (Revolution Series #666 STL)

Place of Origin / Brewer: St. Louis, MO / Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Black Pumpkin Wheat Ale / 5.4%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This German inspired bier noir is brewed with Golden Delicious pumpkins and features Pale & Munich malts, along with German wheat and Opal hops, a Bavarian yeast strain, and pie spices.



I think it should be said for the purposes of full disclosure that I am a huge student of silent films (I even have Lon Chaney Sr. tattooed on my arm).  So, I’m pre-disposed to be a raging fan boy over this “Revolution Series #666” bottling from Urban Chestnut, featuring the singularly creepy Count Orlok.  The Count, a vampire, was a character that F.W. Murnau christened in the 1922 film Nosferatu to avoid a lawsuit with Bram Stoker’s widow over the name Dracula.  And even though Vampires drink blood–I’m sure an exception can be made for this “Black Pumpkin Ale” around Halloween time. – Tim

Really cool “Nosferatu” themed design, fits the season and haunts my fridge. I’m a sucker for horror themes and this one takes the cake. – Rick


Color:  7

Pours a murky mahogany brown color with very little head and the thinnest of white lacing around the edges. Due to the complete opaqueness of the class the only place you can catch the slight carbonation is at the top. – Brittney

A deep and opaque chestnut brown. Nearly black, but not quite. It sounds a lot less sexy to call it a REALLY DARK BROWN PUMPKIN ALE though, right? There is a nice single finger off white head (my color palate suggests “Fawn”), and the glass appears rather still, but who knows what bubbles are lurking among the shadows? – Mike

M- 8 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 8


Aroma:  6.5

Lots of nice floral yeast notes mingling with dry black malts. There is a silky sweetness floating over a mixture of oats and barley. It smells just like I imagined a black pumpkin wheat would.- Rick

So far this smells like sour ale. On second and third pass you start to get more of the sweetness of the pumpkin and a flash of cinnamon and clove. – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5


Mouth feel:  6.5

I’m really enjoying the mouth feel of this one.  It’s a solid medium bodied beer that is not too crisp and not too syrupy.  The carbonation isn’t offensive but there is enough of it that the sips aren’t boring and flat either. – Brittney

Much thinner than expected, I have to remind myself that this is a Black Ale and not a stout or porter, but even then it’s a touch too watery for my tastes and the carbonation is much lighter than the initial pour would suggest – which compounds the problem as well. -Tim

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


Tasting notes:  6.5

Charmingly subtle Dunkelweizen grains and mild sweetness on the first sip and the, as the fluid unassumingly sloshes around your maw, hearty pumpkin pie creeps out to snatch your taste buds away under their dark veil of liquid bread. – Mike

Vampires, as they are, have notorious reactions to garlic–of which this ale has none.  However, were cloves our rat-fanged anti-hero’s kryptonite, then this would be the ale to avoid like the plague–as clove is the undying profile on display here.  Some roasted pumpkin flesh and dark malts come into play, but for the most part this ale is studded with more clove than a holiday ham. – Tim (editors note: Tim doesn’t like too much clove).

I get a lot of roasted malt and wheat in the front of the flavor. What little pumpkin I smelled in the aroma has weakened and the only spice I can taste anymore is clove. This beer is either super complex or fairly simple but it leaves me at a loss. – Brittney

It’s an interesting twist. I like the choice of mixing dark malts into the wheat ale category, as it adds a bit of enjoyable smokiness to the profile of a beer that I otherwise might not like. Pumpkin spices are almost subtle, acting as an accent to an already delicious beer. – Rick

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


Finish:  7

Lingering smoke, mace, and clove gather in the recess of your cheeks to skulk about awhile. Some banana esters emerge here as well, (again, assuming the clove esters may be lost in actual clove). Finally, a deep and granular earthy wheat dryness becomes the tomb to which the spices adjourn to renew their dark power. – Mike

Burnt dark malts embody the finish and really define this brew. It starts like a wheat, but the end is what sells it for me. A touch of smoke and some delicate hot spicing make for a great conclusion to this ale. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 6 / B- 7.5 / R- 7


Flavor balance:  6.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

There is actually a really solid pumpkin profile on this ale, and the character from the aroma leads you to believe this will be more pie than veggie, but it’s all so overpowered by the single-note clove spicing that it throws the whole thing totally out of whack. – Tim

Although these two elements of the pumpkin ale take a back seat in this brew, I do believe they are very well balanced. No spice stands above the other and they all help solidify the pumpkin flavor which becomes a great addition to this black wheat ale. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 7

         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

There is a kiss of sweetness that lights up each new sip, but overall, we lean to a smokey, spicy dryness. It draws you back fro more with each sip, not unlike the Vampyr’s hypnotic gaze, and believe me, the bite will be the last thing that you remember. – Mike

Some sugars profile in the body, bending into a sour tinge and finishing dry from the heavy handed spices–it’s not so much balanced as it is confused. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 5 / B- 7 / R- 6

         Multiple Drinkability?  7

I’m not the biggest wheat beer fan, but I’m really enjoying this. I believe that, had the malt selection been different, however, this beer might sink to the depths among other forgettable pumpkin ales. – Rick

While not the boldest pumpkin offering around, Orlok succeeds in being both interesting and exceedingly session-able. The beer’s foundation is hearty enough to please any Germanophile, and manages to include a nice seasonal twist that compliments the essential character of the base style. I could definitely do a few of these. Plus, vampires dude. – Mike

M- 9 / T- 4 / B- 7 / R- 7.5


Overall:  6.66

M- 7.58 / T- 5.83 / B- 6.33 / R- 6.66



Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine (Farm to Barrel Series) – Almanac Beer Co.


If our first two reviews this month are any indication, California is killing it when it comes to craft beer and the farm to table movement. Further, if this beer is par for the course, Almanac Beer Co. is poised to quickly rise to the forefront of said movements. A pair of “gypsy” brewers (or for the uninitiated, brewers who don’t own their own brewery), Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan brew through the good faith of using other local brewing equipment. As a result, Almanac is the definition of “small batch”, creating exclusive seasonal releases that incorporate local ingredients, and flies off the shelves in no time. Already well decorated in accolades, we weren’t surprised that this was a good one. We were surprised at just how good it was though, and just how hard it was to get our hands on it!


Name:  Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine (Farm to Table Series)

Place of Origin / Brewer: San Jose, California / Almanac Beer Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Barley Wine / 12.8%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Almanac Pumpkin Barleywine is made with 500lbs of hand-roasted heirloom pumpkins from La Tercera Farms in Bodega Bay. The caramelized gourds were added to their American Barleywine and aged in brandy barrels for a year, then the resulting concoction was blended with a freshly brewed spiced barleywine.



The design on this bottle is amazing. Well thought out from top to bottom, informative, clean, and simply breathtaking. From farm to anything seems to be on everyone tongues lately, and with good reason. Farm to Barrel is proudly expressed on the side of this bottle as well as a gorgeous sketch of a tree I would gladly enjoy a pint under any day. – Brittney

My favorite label to date. This one balances beauty and professionalism with charm. Maybe a bit of design porn, what with all the sexy type, but the label just enhances the experience of this great beer and shows the level of appreciation that went into making it. – Rick

A gorgeous postage stamp visage which shows careful consideration on the part of the brewers to impart both information and aesthetic appeal in a design so cool, I would consider framing it.  I hear they grow these pumpkins in Bodega Bay…I was half-expecting some “Birds” on the label.  You Hitchcock fans will understand what I’m talking about. – Tim

Perhaps the sexiest beer bottle I’ve ever seen, this baby features detailed wood cut hop bines accented by metallic gold and ivory lettering a font designer would die for. A sleek and narrow lower paper trailer label encircles with details about the specific bottling, and a giant tree mandala, tractors, and the state silhouette remind you that this is California, Farm to Table and “Beer is Agriculture”. (Also, it says that on the bottle.) – Mike


Color:  8

            This takes your Belgian dark and adds gorgeous red undertones. It looks thick, decadent, and overtly autumnal. –    Mike

            Nearly opaque, the body is full and inviting. It’s awesome copper and burnt umber coloring is accentuated with a light fuzzy head on top that leaves behind a bit of legging as well. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 8 / R- 7


Aroma:  8.5

Wow, this is a sensory overload of the highest order, with black fruit, brandy, molasses followed by intense malt and vanilla notes.  I want to live inside this…I’m trying to imagine how amazing this would smell if you warmed it up. – Tim

Smells just as it states, very much like barley wine & barrel aged beer would smell, high in alcohol and earthly. Although like any good fall vegetable should, the sweetness is brought forward from being caramelized just a touch. – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 9.5 / B- 8 / R- 8


Mouth feel:  8.5

            Creamy. At 13% that should read boozy, but it’s lush and gorgeous, and the only hint of fire is on the swallow. – Mike

It has a full body, but it stays smooth as each sip spills a plethora of flavor over my tongue. It doesn’t burn too much at first, slowly giving way to the inevitable bite of a strong beer. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 8 / R- 9


Tasting notes:  9

            Warm brown sugar, caramel, an explosion of malt, pumpkin, and spice tamed only by wood, and a finish of vanilla, apricots, violets, and cognac. This is what the flame on the tea light inside your jack o’lantern must taste like after a round of Brandy Alexanders. – Mike

Boozy and sweet, rich with raisins and prunes, caramelized pumpkin, dark molasses and brown butter, vanilla and clove, it dances across the palate with waves of flavor, this is a meal, dessert, and after-dinner drinks in a single glass.  It’s like drinking pumpkin pie. – Tim

I like to believe that our palettes are ever changing.  There was a time that I didn’t really have a taste for anything that mentioned barrel aged or barley wine. This has nothing to do with a lack of love for things that come from barrels. Trust me.  For it’s style, this one does it well, it doesn’t feel or taste too heavy and it allows for the earthy elements as well as the care in brewing and aging to shine though.   – Brittney

As expected, the style really dominates the backbone of the profile with some awesome pumpkin qualities to make this brew shine. I’m almost overwhelmed by the nutty vanilla bean that introduces me to a cinnamon topped buttery crust, there’s so much going on here! – Rick

M- 10 / T- 9 / B- 8.5 / R- 9


Finish:  8.5

The finish is the reminder that this beer has spent some time in barrels; the oak and smoothness of the vanilla notes stay with you, as does the thickness of the mouth feel. Final reminder is the12.8%. – Brittney

Long and sweet, with bitter burnt caramel notes and linger of dried fruit and oaked brandy notes.  It doesn’t linger nearly as long as I would like it to, but to be fair I’d like it last forever, so grade that on whatever curve you want. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 8.5


Flavor balance:  8.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8.5

As usual, anytime pumpkin in any state can shine through a spice presence, I call balance. Blending the ales is a genius move for the style. – Brittney

Everything meshes really well, and the pumpkin flavoring is grand. I’m starting to think that complex brews like this one really capture all the nuances of a pumpkin beer, and are the perfect vessel for this gourdy imbibement. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 8.5 / B- 7 / R- 8

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

It’s Barleywine, it’s not meant to be dry.  The high ABV and bitter burnt sugar notes do less to curtail the sweetness and more to extend its enveloping character. – Tim

This is the only minor space for fault. It is pleasantly sweet, but so bold and luxuriant that it is almost overwhelming. Almost. – Mike

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

         Multiple Drinkability?  9

If I could drink more I would. This beer alone warrants a trip to the west coast in search for more of Almanac’s offerings. – Rick

At 12.8% ABV the intensity of this ale is more than enough for a single 375ml serving.  That said, this is a stockpile-level spirit and I would gladly cellar as many of them as I could get my hands on.  In fact, if I see it at a store, you better get out of my way. – Tim

M- 8.5 / T- 10 / B- 8 / R- 8.5


Overall:  8.50

M- 9.00 / T- 8.67 / B- 7.92 / R- 8.42

Dark O’ The Moon – Elysian Brewing Company

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for things of a lupine persuasion, or those of the stouter end of the ale spectrum. So it’s not difficult to discern that, in my household at least, Elysian has a winner here. Hope you all are able to get your hands on some of this before it’s gone. It’s certainly kid tested, wolf approved. Happy Halloween to everyone, and stay safe this evening. We’ll leave it to you whether or not to call out of work in the A.M. – Mike


Name:  Dark O’ The Moon

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Stout / 6.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Dark O’ the Moon is a slightly smoky stout brewed with Great Western pale, Crisp 77° Crystal, Munich, Cara-Vienne, roasted, chocolate and Special B malts, bittered with Magnum hops ,and finished with Saaz hops and crushed cinnamon. Pumpkin is added in the mash, boil, and fermenter.



Dude, this label art is insane! A collision course sized harvest moon headed directly for earth and a nasty looking skull faced lycanthrope. This needs to be the reissue album cover for Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon”. – Mike

A howling werewolf silhouette’s the front of a full harvest moon. Elysian tends to always give a little creepiness to their labels.  I like it.  – Brittney


Color:  8.5

Pours up blacker than my twisted soul with some yeast flecks dancing in the glass–which was similar to Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Ale.  The head is the color of nice Café con leche that I anticipated would hold on longer than it did.  Still it settled into a nice, stout-styled ring and left a bit of lacing for good measure.  – Tim

Almost perfect. I dig the blackness of this stout and love the bits of sediment. The roasted bone brown head is awesome. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 9.5


Aroma:  7

The nose is dizzy with dark chocolate malts, burnt caramel and charred pumpkin offset against a smoky darkness with notes of tobacco.  – Tim

You can smell the earthy, malty thickness in the aroma right away with notes of cinnamon and vegetal pumpkin following closely behind. – Brittney

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


Mouth feel:  7.5

The roast malt smokiness lingers on the tongue. It’s smooth and viscous – definitively a full bodied stout. – Rick

Velvety and luscious on the tongue with a gentle carbonation and a surprisingly medium- full body, it coats and goes down super smooth. – Tim

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


Tasting notes:  7.5

This is a fantastic mouth dominating stout. It’s think and has a huge presence. Pumpkin? Not a ton, but there’s a touch of bubblegum and cinnamon that might be the final screaming breath of one before it succumbed to the smoke and drowned in inky depths. – Mike

Bitter and malty with rich notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee and dry dark fruit (raisins/prunes).  Pumpkin is masked more in the body than it was in the nose, but the spices actually start to come though here with the primary scent being cinnamon.   Rich but not as complex as I would have liked, it has all the earmarks of a more American styled-stout like Bells or Left-Hand.  Very drinkable. – Tim

Lots of bready, yeasty flavor up front with a very roasted malty base.  Hints of pumpkin and chocolate peek through here and there with smatterings of cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also a slight bitterness towards the end. – Brittney

Great roasted malt flavor shines while being sweetened by the pumpkin and cinnamon. Maybe a note of clove, but probably just the nuttiness of seeds and a dark chocolate profile. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 8


Finish:  7.5

The greatest part about stouts is the finish and this is no exception. Chocolatey and nutty with a pumpkin body, this one’s a real treat. – Rick

This is where the last desperate gasp of pumpkin and spice emerge in a brief sweetness along with lasting dark chocolate java notes. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 8.5


Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

For a stout, I give them all the credit in the world for showcasing pumpkin and spice, and by blending them into the dark chocolate and coffee profiles that are almost always overpowering, in a way that was actually discernible. – Tim

Malts dominate here, but there’s a nice interplay between the pumpkin and a nutty cinnamon. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 8 / B- 5 / R- 7.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

There’s actually a surprising sweet burst to this end, complimented nicely by the long and bitter dark chocolate / cinnamon exit. – Mike

The mouth feel and flavor tends towards the sweeter side.  The bitterness of the finish and touch of alcohol tends towards the dryer side. – Brittney

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  8

I love a good stout, and this one feels festive. I’m curious to make this into the ultimate Sleepy Hollow, the quintessential Halloween beer cocktail. – Mike

Of the darker pumpkin beers we’ve had, most have failed to really capture the pumpkin essence.  For me, Elysian are really at the top of their game here and this beer shows a deft hand.  I’d gladly drink another–and 6.5% ABV, I wouldn’t even be worried about a second bottle in a session. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 9 / B- 6 / R- 8


Overall:  7.5

M- 8.33 / T- 7.75 / B- 6.42 / R-  8.00

Rumpkin (October 5, 2011) Annual Barrel Series – Avery Brewing Company

Every once in awhile, a beer comes along that separates the boys from the men. Well, actually no. With Avery, that’s pretty much every day. Known for their unusual brewing practices, and some intense high ABV beers, Avery doesn’t think inside the box, they punch their way out while watching Old Spice commercials on infinite repeat. So if you’re in a climate that’s a little on the chilly side this Thanksgiving, and you just need something to break down all the Tryptophan in your gullet, grab one of these bad boys and don’t be a turkey.


Name:  Rumpkin (October 5, 2011) Annual Barrel Series

Place of Origin / Brewer: Colorado, USA / Avery Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Triple Ale / 15.90%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Limited to 512 cases (of which we’re sampling batch one) Rumpkin is brewed with Rocky mountain water, malted barley, pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, hops, and yeast, then rested in oak rum barrels to yield spicy gourd, delicate oak, and candied molasses notes.



Avery really impressed here, complete with gold foil neck and cap, and a specialty label reflecting the barrel slats, and woodcut pumpkin and rum jug with skull and crossbones adorning. They’ve also nicely incorporated a significant number of details to the labeling, including batch, cases production and bottling date, as well as the concept of the beer. Nicely done. – Mike

I love this pseudo-pirate styled label with the rum barrel branded with skulls and growlers and pumpkins and proclaiming the batch numbers (ours was No. 1) and the number of cases in the production (512) all of it speaks to Avery’s continued tradition of being a rebellious brewer. – Tim


Color:  6.5

Cloudy molasses brown giving great credence to it’s rum referenced conception, and just a hint of burnt umber to give it an aging pumpkin feel. A mild fizzy head crowns it, and quickly becomes a menacing ring, hinting that this may be too hardcore for any frilly accoutrement. – Mike

Murky and swamp like.  I’m expecting Swamp Thing to crawl from its depths any moment now.  Even what little remains of the head and the lacing have a slight mud tinge to them. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 4.5 / R- 7.5


Aroma:  6

Shiver me timbers with your burnt caramel sticky sweetness.  This beer is packing a seriously complex nose, with spiced rum, prunes and molasses kicking you square in the face with a ferociousness that actually frightens me a little (but in a good way).  However, I’m also a bit concerned that I haven’t found the pumpkin, or the pumpkin spices yet. – Tim

Just the smell of this is giving me a hangover.  It’s heavy on the alcohol right away.  Next is a blast of heavy dark molasses and raw oak.  Separately I love the smell of molasses and oak but this aroma is totally off putting for me.  I don’t even want to taste this. – Brittney

It smells like aged pumpkin might.  It’s musty and carries a thick molasses aroma.  I can tell right away just from the smell that the alcohol content is fairly high on this one. – Rick

M- 7.5 / T- 6 / B- 3 / R- 8


Mouth feel:  6

It seems light on the tongue, then it burns over the palate smoothly.  This one warms up quickly in the glass, and I think it’s the first pumpkin brew to leave my lips numb after a few sips. – Rick

On the very high end of medium bodied, you might as well tick this off in the heavy column due to the epic levels of sweetness on display.  However that being said, it’s not a tough swallow.  It’s got some carbonation burn and some absolute heat from the super high alcohol content, but I didn’t struggle to get it down.  It’s palatable. – Tim

M- 7 / T- 5.5 / B- 4 / R- 6.5


Tasting notes:  6

The sweet pumpkin assaults you like a belligerent pirate, and a malty black strap molasses and chocolate cake field quickly follows, with a hint of oak on the backend, that should firmly suggest rum, if my puns and the label fail you. The spices are regulated into the caramel sweetness, reminding me more of spiced dark rum, than holiday cheer. – Mike

Tastes of Dark Brown Sugar, Sorghum, Spiced Rum, Allspice and Ginger, Sweetness that just teeters on cloying with deep chest warmth from the spirits.  The intensity of the beer overpowers any pumpkin that might be in there and the big alcohol content pushes this offering squarely into the Fortified (or Barley) wine category.  In fact, I’d seriously consider serving this ‘sipping’ beer in a Brandy snifter. – Tim

This one has a unique  flavor with an oaky aged-like quality.  It’s sweet like candy with a roasted pumpkin essence, but don’t let it fool you, this beer packs a punch. – Rick

To be fair, I’m not quite certain if I can get past the aroma and mouth feel to get to the taste.  But this is just not pleasant to me.  Nor do I feel that this has anything to do with anything that has to do with being anything like pumpkin ale. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 5 / B- 3 / R-  7


Finish:  6

Fruity apple and black tea come in here, with just a hint of cinnamon. I’m most impressed with the handling of the significant ABV though, which offers a gentlemanly pound on the back, without offering the acrid burn you could easily come away with. – Mike

Long and defined by the deep malty sweetness and the trailing alcohol vapors—extending the profile for an eternity, which makes sipping this brew over an extended session an even more attractive option. – Tim

Relief. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 5 / B- 3 / R- 7


Flavor balance:  4.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

This ale has the usual spices in it.  Although, it’s heavy with a molasses and caramel flavor, this is the most pumpkin flavored ale so far. – Rick

I’m not sure I’d call it balance since I never found the pumpkin in there but I will give Avery props for attaining some semblance of harmony with the other components in this crazy strong brew they managed to bottle. – Tim

This is a dramatically different approach, with the pumpkin winning the race to the finish, but I particularly enjoy the way the spices are handled by relegating them to an aspect of rum flavor.

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It’s sweet, damn sweet in fact, but this is barley wine to the max territory, and it finishes exceptionally well, certainly worthy of acknowledgment as a finer example, rather than a seasonal frivolity. – Mike

It’s very much like melted candy, and it starts off sweet, but finishes dry. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Avery Brewing Company is based in Boulder, Colorado where the record low once reached -31.  Rumpkin might best be enjoyed as a sipping beer in the tradition of a cognac or as a replacement spirit to help stave off frostbite in a St. Bernard’s rescue barrel.  – Tim

This is 15.90% so lets be honest here, you’re only meant to have one. But on a cold night, this boy will keep you warmer than any of Brian Wilson’s northern girls, and in Boulder, Colorado, you can be damn sure that’s a welcome thing. – Mike

This is a great tasting pumpkin ale to sip on a cold day, maybe more like a frigid day.  The ABV is super strong, but doesn’t keep this ale from exceeding in flavor. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 2 / B- 3/ R- 6


Overall:  5.83

M- 7.67 / T- 4.92 / B- 3.50 / R- 6.83

Bluepoint Pumpkin Ale – Bluepoint Brewing Company

As much as we’d like to give every craft brewer a pat on the back, the bottom line is, just because it’s independent, doesn’t mean it’s great. Sometimes things just need a little work, sometimes they need a lot, but we try to keep it critical and straight up, and hopefully, that feedback is appreciated.


Name:  Bluepoint Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer:  New York, USA / Blue Point Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 6.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Brewed with pumpkins “from only the most sincere patches”, this seasonal brew is golden orange,  with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.



I really like the country  store nature of this burlap label.  It’s got a real folksy craft vibe that gives me small town Americana vibes– like sitting on a porch after a long day, eyes gazed across the golden waves of wheat quivering a the field while John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow album plays. – Tim

Yeah, there’s a pumpkin on it, but it’s not jumping off the shelf to me.  The colors are subdued and the overall labeling seems like another Photoshop blunder.  I’m not sure why the “burlap sack” texture has to dominate the entire label, including the logo and ale’s name. – Rick


Color:  6

Cider clear with a brown sugar tint and just the slightest hint of orange  to remind us that this is in fact a pumpkin beer. – Mike

Crystal clear, golden brown and very active, it looks like a cold glass of cream soda.  It has a solid head and heavy lacing.  – Brittney

M- 4.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 6


Aroma:  6

This ale has a great sweet aroma, mostly fulfilled by the nutmeg and cinnamon spices.  There also seems to be a pumpkin based scent as well. – Rick

There is a really earthy spice to it.  Usually, it’s the pumpkin that I describe as earthy but the nutmeg and cinnamon are coming through as really raw with a creamy caramel. – Brittney

M- 6 / T- 5 / B- 6.5 / R- 7


Mouth feel:  4.5

It’s Light-bodied without stepping completely into ‘light beer’ mode but still not very substantial for an ‘ale’. – Tim

Almost watery light, with a drying bitterness that belies that same quality. – Mike

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


Tasting notes:  4.5

Warm and spicy, with a touch of smoky baked pumpkin and a good bit of cinnamon. The nutmeg seems to take on subdued sense, but is certainly prevalent as well. Most notably though, is the fair amount of hop dried texture that makes this ale variable from the rest, particularly given the quite light body. – Mike

Ever have a beer that just sort of tastes like ‘beer’?  That’s Blue Point for me.  Some minor sweetness from the malt, notes of Carmel, some sour vegetal pumpkin flavors pop up here and there. A little more honey on the back-end–but it was better in the bouquet.  Overall it’s a bit watery and far to innocuous and one-dimensional to regard with much rapture. – Tim

Frankly, I’m pretty bored with the taste of this beer.  It’s heavy on spice and dry.  The pumpkin is really hard to place and every other supporting ingredient is lacking character.  – Brittney

This malt beverage is very drinker friendly.  There’s a slight bit of sweet spice to it, but the carbonation really dilutes any flavors from flourishing.  There is however a nice hop finish that’s not too bitter or overwhelming. – Rick

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


Finish:  4.5

Actually the brew has a nice crisp finish revealing some dryer characteristics that weren’t prevalent in the body, touches of pumpkin on the close and that’s about it–clearing the palate pretty swiftly. – Tim

Dry and forgettable. – Brittney

Right before the hoppy finish, I’m presented with the slightest touch of sweet malts.  It’s a crisp and clean finish with a little bite at the end. – Rick

M- 5.5 / T- 5 / B- 4 / R- 4


Flavor balance:  4.5


–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

The pumpkin flavor isn’t very prominent, but there are some sweet spices like nutmeg and cinnamon that are there. Somewhere. – Rick

Way more spice, the pumpkin is almost nonexistent. – Brittney

Spice dominates this ale, and while it offers an interesting perspective, the pumpkin is almost completely lost on me. If this was put out as a lighter autumn offering, it would be much more on point. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 5 / B- 4 / R- 2.5


–         Sweet / Dry balance:

The caramel malts and the honey notes add a nice bit of sweetness in the glass, and the crisp finish reveal a pretty solid cohesion in the product, it just serves a master that’s not up to the task on the other fronts. – Tim

I noticed that this beer starts sweet with the aroma and malts being dominant at the initial sip, but soon end up finishing dry. – Rick

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


–         Multiple Drinkability?

This is easy as heck to drink, but sadly that seems to be more because the texture more closely resembles the near teetotaling American mass produced beers, than something that you’d want to return to for it’s own merit. – Mike

I’d personally pass on another round, but since this sorta falls under what I would consider a ‘light pumpkin beer’ you could probably knock back a sixer of this and not feel any pain or regret.  So take that as you want in terms of a recommendation. – Tim

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


Overall:  5.00

M- 4.83 / T- 4.92 / B- 5.08 / R- 4.83

Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.

You know what sucks? Ever since we opted to do this countdown, I’ve had the band Europe stuck in my head. I’m sorry if you think that’s kind of awesome. Trust me, it sucks.

Number three here might disagree with you though. A quick perusal of the Big Boss website proves that there’s definitely a lot of geek love flowing through this brewery. From LOTR jokes to an obvious dark humor and a “we’re doing this for us, not for you” attitude, I can’t help but be a little charmed.


Name:  Harvest Time

Place of Origin / Brewer:  North Carolina, USA / Big Boss Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Fall Ale / 5.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Brewed with pumpkin and a subtle proprietary blend of spices. Suggested pairings: zombie rituals, walks in the graveyard after midnight, and vampire hunting.



I’m digging the clean black and white vibe of this label that announces “Harvest Time” in Misfits-style letters and features a skull and scythe  with a little box to check off if you “Reap” or “Sow”.  I assume most beer drinkers “reap’ since planting bottles of brew isn’t the ideal way to store them. – Tim

A wicked looking skull and scythe front this dark grayscale looking bottle, rendered in the spirit of such artists as Guy Davis and Mike Mignola. The clever double entendre of “Harvest Time” is not missed, but in case it eludes you, there’s a checkbox for both “reap” and “sow”. Probably don’t want to get those mixed up. – Mike

Gotta love the skull with eyeballs, and the reaper’s scythe is pretty sick as well.  Also, the black and white color scheme is pretty unique but haunting in it’s own way. – Rick


Color:  7

A bloody knife left to rust in a pint glass, and a perpetually lasting smoke ring head that’s about three millimeters thick all the way down the glass. How morbidly festive.- Mike

A murky unfiltered auburn with noticeable sediment and almost no head to speak of–just a creamy ring of color pressed up against the side of the glass that rather unexpectedly leaves a tiny little trail of lacing. – Tim

Like a haystack during sunset, this ale has a cloudy straw color with glimpses of golden amber.  The lacing is thick around the edge and mesmerizing across the top. Just as in moments when you can’t really tell whether you are welcoming day or night I am confused as to what to expect from this ale from Big Boss.  – Brittney

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


Aroma:  7.5

It’s not big, but there’s an undeniable element of creamy pumpkin cheesecake and a menagerie of spices blended so nicely, that it’s hard to single any one out. Having claimed an aim for subtle, I’d say they’ve nailed it. – Mike

It smells like a pumpkin patch baking in an oven.  It’s yeasty, vegetal, earthy and without question pumpkin.  The spices are faint but they are present, mostly nutmeg and clove with hints of cinnamon. – Brittney

Fresh cut pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg greet the intrepid imbiber with the trappings of our favorite fall libation.  However, the aroma is high on the pumpkin pie charts but low on the complexity scale, which worries me right off the bat that this offering might be all artifice. – Tim

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


Mouth feel:  7

Crisp medium bodied with a snap of flavor bursting on the tongue. Like many other unfiltered beers this one is low on carbonation so it’s super smooth and easy to put past your lips. – Tim

For as active as the carbonation looks, it’s definitely faint in the mouth.  It enters light and thin and follows through slightly creamy yet refreshing. The mouth feel seems to take the back burner allowing for the intricacies of the taste to shine.  – Brittney

The carbonation is teetering on almost flat, giving the ale a smooth swallow, but ultimately declares it’s a light bodied beer. – Rick

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


Tasting notes:  6.5

There’s a lush and buttery cream note to this, and it’s really quite nice, particularly since it seems to have laid in toasted marshmallow and rolled around in hops. The spicing plays an eventful part as well, keeping everything very well in check and in congruity with the nose. No surprises here, but it’s an impressively balanced ale. – Mike

Thirst first sip was a little shocking.  It starts off kind of sweet, then derails with a sour apple, ginger like dryness that I found to be pretty bitter and unexpected.  There is a generous helping of cinnamon in there, but it just doesn’t quell the sourness that is mostly dominant on the finish. – Rick

Caramel sweetness from the malts play against the high spice content and drown out any real pumpkin from the brew. Brown butter crust and a high concentration of ‘pumpkin pie’ flavor delivers a beer that, while not unpleasant, feels decidedly one-note. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 4


Finish:  7

This is where you will find that missing pumpkin if you really take the time to savor the finish of this beer.  – Brittney

I’m kind of thrown back and forth between the sourness of the pumpkin and the bitterness from the spices.  I find it strangely reminiscent of whiskey when I exhale, which I don’t exactly find appealing to this brew. – Rick

Pumpkin and clove seem to dominate the end, along with the toasted marshmallow element, and a woodiness mixed with pie crust for probably the most definition this ale has to offer. It’s a nice final stamp to the swallow. – Mike

A really clean understated finish as the sweetness from the malts are given over to the dry close of the hops–leaving you without any lingering unpleasantries (or much of anything else) on the palate.  I really appreciate a beer that forgoes the long finish and doesn’t compete with other things your palate might appreciate (like food). – Tim

M- 8.5  / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R-  3


Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

For all the gloom and shuffling from this mortal coil labeling, this is down right elegant. Those looking for a wilder brew might find it a touch boring, but I find it a tasteful reigning in of all the elements of the “pumpkin pie” and not forgetting it’s beer, but not trying too hard to prove it’s either, and focusing more on pleasure, than poise. -Mike

It smells sweet, but all I really come away with is the feeling that I’m chewing on cinnamon. – Rick

If you take everything into account, from nose to finish and everything in between Harvest Time is very well balanced. – Brittney

Way more fresh pumpkin in the bouquet than on the actual beer itself.  It’s heavy-handed with it’ spice blend, even though no one spice superficially overpowers another.  This one would wear on you after a while. – Tim

M- 9.5  / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 3

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

This might be one of the best beers I’ve had in terms of a sweet body masking a crisp dry, finish.  I just wish that level of detail were applied to the rest of the ale’s structure. – Tim

The light carbonation and body takes any lean toward this one being a little more on the sweet side away.  Again, taking every aspect into account the balance on this brew is phenomenal. – Brittney

There’s a good bit of sugar in here, but in a very unusual and subdued light, and still just enough of the hop gold shines through, particularly in the end. I think this is the perfect middle ground for a crew of people who might lean towards opposite ends of the bitter / sweet divide. – Mike

M – 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R- 4

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Light on the stomach, full on the senses, and completely devoid of being overwhelming, while at once consistently interesting? I could seriously drink this all night. – Mike

Not enjoying the sour, bitter, spicy combination on this one at all.  – Rick

Mark a few more pumpkin tallies on the bottle for me.  The body and balance of this ale make it super easy and enjoyable to drink. – Brittney

M-  10 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 2


Overall:  6.92

M- 8.50 / T- 6.42 / B- 7.83 / R- 4.66