Posts tagged ‘lager’

Quick Hits II – Jaw Jacker, Punkel, & Sweet Yamma Jamma


We know, we know, it’s been more than a second since our last post. We have some good reasons though. To add to our lists of delays like marriages, moves, honeymoons, and the like, we can now add babies and hospitalizations. Everyone’s ok now, we assure you, but it’s a little difficult to accurately review beer when you haven’t slept in a week or are on massive pain killers. (Though the reviews might be more entertaining).

We’ve crossed some wires both literally and figuratively, but we won’t abandon you before Turkey day cometh. So without further ado, here are a few, albeit tasty, impostors of pumpkin. These suckers are 100% pumpkin free despite their trappings. We won’t say that’s bad, and they are mostly pretty honest about it, but we felt it was our civic duty to let you know the truth.


Name: Jaw Jacker

Place of Origin / Brewer: Battle Creek, MI / Arcadia Brewing Co.

Beer Style / ABV%: Spiced Ale / 6.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Jaw Jacker is an ale with spices (specifically cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg) added.

This was definitely one of our “duh” moments for the season. We all gathered to review this ale, quietly typing and scribbling away our notes (We don’t discuss the beers until after we have reviewed them individually). At the end, we all sat around the table and asked where the pumpkin was and, after digging on the internet a bit, found out it was “nowhere”. It’s still a little confusing to us why Arcadia decided to slap a giant fanged pumpkin ala “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” on the front of this one, but hey, we won’t complain about accidentally drinking an extra beer.

The glass greets you with a familiar burnished bronze and a nose of earthy spice and cherry cola fizz. In the mouth though, it’s a bit thin and quite bitter and earthy. This is one strange palate blower. While it’s not exceedingly clove, or cinnamon fire, the blend tends to come out as a soapy numbing pungency. Maybe they should put a little pumpkin in this after all to balance some things out.


Name: Punkel

Place of Origin / Brewer: Garland, TX / Lakewood Brewing Co.

Beer Style / ABV%: Spiced Dunkel Lager / 5.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Punkel is a Munich Dunkel style lager based on the flavor of the dessert pumpkin pie. It is spiced with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and includes no pumpkin.

There is an unfortunate mentality that comes out of the mouths of many of pumpkin beer’s critics, chief among them being the idea that “Pumpkin imparts little to no flavor”. We here at the GPBR simply disagree with that mindset, but we won’t hold it against Lakewood, we just aren’t sure why you’d set out to make a beer based on pumpkin pie and skip the pumpkin. That said, there are some nice things going on in and on this bottle!

The first impression is a sleek design job on the label including a wooden barrel stave logo (that is close to our hearts and our blog format, a nice selection of pairing recommendations (Smoked Gruyére! Good call!), and yes, the name is quite clever.

This tasty brown ale has gorgeous ruby highlights, and a nose of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger over a hearty malt sea. In fact, this really does come quite close to achieving a pumpkin pie vibe, with a delicate pie crust body that’s malty and exceedingly well balanced. It’s smooth, silky, and makes a great session lager for those who can’t decide between Oktoberfest or Halloween.


Name: Sweet Yamma Jamma

Place of Origin / Brewer: Minneapolis, MN / Indeed Brewing Co.

Beer Style / ABV%: Sweet Potato Ale / 5.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Sweet Yamma Jamma is brewed with 480 lbs of sweet potatoes in the mash along with European malts, and then canned yams and spices are added to secondary fermentation to infuse flavor.

We can always appreciate a cool can design, and you can be assured that any brewery that includes schematics of its brewing system on their website is into the details. The sweeping, epic font of the name elicits 70’s funk throwback, and the beer delivers on said funk. This is like the exploitation film of pumpkin ales.

On the red side of orange with a thin white head, the first thing that pos into your head is sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Savory vegetal yam plays against a good bit of biscuity malt, a hint of ginger and pepper, and a punch of brown sugar to sweeten it up a notch. This doesn’t play at being a pumpkin ale so much as it passes you the wrong dish when you reach for one. And for that we applaud it. It’s clean, refreshing, and though it’s a bit one note, it’s a good note. Sweet Yamma Jamma, Indeed.


Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner – Elysian Brewing Co.

Hansel and Gretel

It’s no secret that the folks over at Elysian Brewing are just as crazy about pumpkin beer as we are. From their annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival (no relation, but we kind of wish there was), to their vast array of offerings that fit solidly in the pumpkin category, there is probably gourd in their fermenters more often than not. This little buddy is one of their newest offerings in the retail bottled selection, and it’s targeted right at those folks who might like a little less “imperial” in their pumpkin. Bonus points for the matching of German fairy tales to German beer style.


Name:  Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner

Place of Origin / Brewer: Seattle, Washington / Elysian Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Pilsner / 4.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This beer is brewed with organic pale, Weyermann Munich, and Cara-Hell malts, with pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. It is spiced with peeled and pureed fresh ginger in the boil and bright tank, and hopped with lots of Czech Saaz hops.



Elysian never slouches on their labels. A folksy looking, fairy tale book illustration at style featuring the latest in pumpkin home construction. Gingerbread is soooo 1812. Today’s modern cannibal witch is gazing from the balcony, having underestimated the appeal of a house made of pumpkin to the craft beer aficionado, dread in her eyes.  – Mike

In keeping with the whimsical tradition of past Elysian beers, this ale features a kind of twisted fairytale landscape of ancient trees and pumpkin house – replete with scary old witch beckoning inquisitive children and adventurous drinkers into her happy, horrible home…for dinner. – Tim


Color:  5.5

Bubbles dance quickly to the top of this yellow-orange brew. After a quick dissipation there is little to no head with an antiqued looking white lacing. – Brittney

A nice classic golden pilsner color, but infused with an additional cloudiness and obvious amber coloration from pumpkins. A simple and light frothy head settles nicely on top. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 5.5


Aroma:  6

There is almost a saison quality to the bouquet. It just has that extra dusting of pumpkin which is noticeable under a heavy dose of ginger that allows the hops to barely peek through. – Rick

The bouquet is like someone threw a fresh peeled knob of ginger into crisp hoppy ale–blending that candied quality (think ginger biscotti) with fresh forest pine notes. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 5


Mouth feel:  6

When you combine a mouth feel of very active carbonation with the crispness of the fresh ginger this beer really, really snaps in your mouth. – Brittney

A touch fuller than the average pils, most likely from the pumpkin addition. It smooths out what could otherwise be a very prickly glassful. – Mike

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


Tasting notes:  7

The ginger mingles with the hop profile exceedingly well. It’s interesting that the ginger doesn’t have that usual zest you would associate with your sushi boat, but more of a bittering floral quality. It makes for one very dry lager. – Mike

Lets be realistic here, the only spice in this beer is ginger, and with that in mind, the profile is about 90% exactly what you would expect it to be.  It’s almost a digestif in that manner. As the fragrant root permeates all of my senses there is a little biscuit malt and pumpkin peeking through and a bloom of piney Czech hops that close it out. – Tim

Ginger often has a soapy taste to me and right off the bat you get a ton of it. Along with the hops this could make a great palate cleanser or wrecker. I can’t really decide and I just got an insatiable urge for sushi.  Once you get past the ginger there is a bit of a piney note to a pretty solid pilsner. – Brittney

This is why I love Elysian. They take experimental risks that produce some amazing unexpected results. Very earthy, and funky hops nail the bittering and floral aspects of this pilsner and have a strong presence without becoming too parching like American IPAs tend to lean towards. Ginger is a great touch, and at first seems overwhelming, but as the backbone of this beer it is balanced very well to enhance the pumpkin. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 8


Finish:  7

The ginger is strong and lingers, as do the hops. But for a final note, I have to say that the hops prevail and leave a strong floral essence. – Brittney.

Something of a one note beer, that just happens to display two notes – hoppy pine and spicy ginger root, with the bitter floral hops carrying the pilsner for a very long finish. – Tim

M- 7 / T- 6 / B- 6 / R- 9


Flavor balance:  5.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 4.5

Not so much balance here. The ginger totally dominates while the pumpkin rides shotgun, but it isn’t a bad thing and I actually think it is the highlight of this brew. – Rick

The pumpkin here doesn’t seem to be much of a flavoring component, so much as a contribution to color and body. It may take the biscuit notes and sweeten them a bit, but Saaz and ginger dominate this glass. – Mike

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

         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

Surprisingly, this beer seems pretty balanced here. The clean ginger aspect could seem to create an intense dryness, but everything else seems to combat that and help pull it back to center. – Brittney

A malty front end is elegantly capped by a dry clean back end. One of the more well balanced beers in this department and I believe it all rests on the combination and interplay of hops and ginger. – Rick

M- 4 / T- 5.5 / B- 7 / R- 9

         Multiple Drinkability?  5.5

This is a tasty session worthy lager. It’s nice and light, but still a few shades from the gingerbread realm (likely because it’s solely ginger, sans baking spices). The only thing holding me back here is the suspicion that, as through the glass, the ginger would keep building with each serving through a sitting and, I for one, don’t enjoy sitting up at night bloated with burning ginger burps. – Mike

I’ve been wracking my brain for the best possible solution to when I would want to drink this beer again, or what I might pair it with to tame the residual heat and the best I can come up with is – if you routinely eat Chinese food on Thanksgiving or Christmas (A Christmas Story – Fa-rah-rah-rah-rah) then this might pair nicely.  Otherwise, a single glass from the 650ml bottle should be just enough as an after dinner drink. – Tim

M- 3.5 / T- 5 / B- 5.5 / R- 8


Overall:  6.17

M- 5.83 / T- 6.17 / B- 5.58 / R- 6.92

Jack-O Traveler Seasonal Shandy – The Traveler Brewing Co.

Travlers Shandy

When we set out earlier this year seeking out beers to review, we definitely started looking into some of the darker corners of the cellar. Sure, there are certainly a few major release pumpkin ales that have eluded our grasp as of yet, but two years running of tracking down all the familiar faces has allowed us a certain freedom to delve into the unique, elusive, and creative minds. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’ve got nothing against a good old fashioned pumpkin ale, but whether it works or not, there’s always something fun about trying something a little different. This one is definitely in the “you’ve got to at least try it once” category. ::Cue mustache twirl::


Name: Jack-O Traveler Seasonal Shandy

Place of Origin / Brewer: Burlington, Vermont / The Traveler Beer Co.

Beer style / ABV%: Pumpkin Shandy

Specialty Prep / Individuality: This beer holds the distinction of being the first Pumpkin Shandy. It is brewed with 2-Row Malted Barley, malted wheat, and real pumpkin, and features Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops and a hint of spice. It’s also worth noting that while it does take it’s inspiration from the lemon soda & lager cocktails of Europe, the flavor here is 100% beer.



I like this label. It’s playful and they’ve incorporated a fun moustachio into the artwork. Everybody loves a mustache. – Rick

A vine mustachioed jack-o-lantern. How hipster. – Tim


Color: 7

This shandy is the color of honey or perhaps a lemon iced tea. Thin lacing clings just around the edge with an ever so slight amount of bubbles making their way to the top. It is the picture of refreshment. – Brittney

Deep Mustard Yellow leaning just slightly into a crusty orange / burnt umber. I’m going to guess this alludes to the lemon shandy aspect. Darker than I would have suspected. – Mike

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


Aroma: 6

I wasn’t expecting such a full bodied aroma from this shandy. There are some earthy elements which reveal a muskiness that isn’t unpleasant and helps pronounce the pumpkin. – Rick

The aroma of lemon is always intense to me. With that being said, I smell a great deal of lemon and a good amount of pumpkin followed by just a bit of cinnamon. – Brittney

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


Mouth feel: 7

On the lighter end of medium bodied which, based on the fact that they are touting this as a shandy, is much fuller than I would have anticipated. The carbonation is mild and the ale has a soft and easy texture that would make putting more than a few of these back a veritable breeze. – Tim

Crisp, and light, with just a bit of fizz. This is easy drinking, hot weather pumpkin beer here folks. – Mike

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


Tasting notes: 7

A slight touch of acidity rides a heap of spices and a good dose of malty, well… goodness. There is dominant sweetness that lands between pie and powdered lemonade, without delving too much into either, and a quality of southern tea that makes it a likely accompaniment for a round of golf on Halloween. – Mike

The overriding flavor profile is cinnamon and allspice, with subtle notes of lemon trailing on the finish. Considering the spice on the nose and at the forefront of the body, it’s a real wonder that this isn’t more aggressive. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this by any stretch of the imagination a traditional shandy, but the brewers have managed to impart that light sweetness within the confines of a pumpkin ale with absolute success. – Tim

We’ve tasted a lot of beers that tout fresh and local. And we all know what “natural flavors” really means these days. But I think it’s probably for the best if we all give this one a chance to be what it is. This is like the difference between buying your pumpkin pie at the store and baking one yourself from scratch. This “pie” is the pie from the store, and for what it is, it’s pretty damn good. – Brittney

I am quite surprised, once again, by this shandy. I never suspected that pumpkin flavor with lemon would make such a great combo. The spicing is gentle enough to let the natural sweetness of the pumpkin flavors shine, and each sip is just as good as the last. – Rick

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


Finish: 6.5

Smooth and lemony on the end pronounced by a hint of zest and maybe a bit of cinnamon. A nice pumpkin gourdiness really floods the senses here and compliments the brew well. – Rick

This is where I get my dose of lemon. Nutmeg lingers and gives the quality of a mulled cider, with fruity pumpkin juice gleaning on the swallow. In fact, I think I might have had this once in a certain wizard themed section of a certain local theme park. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 7.5


Flavor balance: 6.5

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

What little pumpkin there is shows itself only on the bouquet, the spice while prominent is never overbearing, which in and of itself is a major compliment considering the dominant cinnamon profile on display. – Tim

The lemon really helps sweeten without having to rely on an over use of pumpkin spice. Actually the spicing seems to be pretty fair and light on this one. – Rick

M- 4.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 8

  • Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

You get sweetness from pumpkin and spice and a crisp dryness from the lemon creating a pretty decent balance to me. – Brittney

A good shandy should be sweet, but not soft drink-esque. This ale toes the line in that regard, with finessed aplomb. It has just enough sugar in it to make me want to pound down a few with my holiday fish and chips, but not so much that it’s going to leave me bloated and sorry. – Tim

M- 4 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

  • Multiple Drinkability? 7

It’s light and easy going down, but there is an inherent sugar rush that just doesn’t gel with me. That said, it surpassed my expectations as a novelty, and is definitely interesting as a fringe style. A few tweaks could make this a winner down the line. – Mike

I was really impressed with this new twist on the pumpkin beer, and the style just begs to be drunk in session. It’s really well balanced and even more pumpkin-like than some of the ales that we’ve had. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 10


Overall: 6.67

M- 5.67 / T- 6.33 / B- 7.33 / R- 7.33

Great Lakes Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit – Great Lakes Distillery, LLC

What can I say? Besides being awesomely dramatic, apparently some of our product photos are also prophetic. Okay, okay. Maybe that’s giving us a little too much credit, but you have to agree that our feature on Lakefront Pumpkin Lager was more than a little foreshadowing. If you don’t believe me, check back to last year’s review. Go on, I’ll wait:

See what I mean?


Name: Great Lakes Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit

Place of Origin / Distiller: Wisconsin, USA / Great Lakes Distillery

ABV: 45%

Specialty Prep/ Individuality:

This Limited edition whiskey is distilled from the essence of the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager (grain and pumpkin with spices based on Thomas Jefferson’s Recipe) and aged in new and used oak bourbon barrels. We reviewed Bottle 5/3407, Batch 5, which was beautifully hand numbered and dipped in orange wax. Even the label design is a throwback to the beer it is distilled from.


Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit first meets the glass with beautiful, brassy, golden-orange hues, very closely resembling an old cask scotch. Contrarily, the nose is extremely reminiscent of a younger corn whiskey, combining elements of white dog, and sweet pumpkin, but, besides some faint wisps of ginger, little to no spice.

Our initial delving was taken neat, and, once past the lips, clove and nutmeg emerged in gobs, with a splash of cinnamon to boot. A very pleasant surprise given the relative quietude of the nose. Both smooth and sensuous on the tongue, it has an admirable heat, though far from overwhelming. Equal parts sweet bourbon and malt whisky, this sucker comes of nicely balanced between opposing palatial preferences.

Once the taste buds have adapted to the slightly elevated proof, it’s remarkable how the mash bill so perfectly reflects the sweet pumpkin lager that provides its origins. It’s creamy, and light on the palate, and given an ice cube or splash of water, is almost as refreshing as a cold beer itself.

Though we didn’t get into them ourselves (mostly because my bar accoutrements are packed in boxes until we get into the new house next week), there is a substantial list of cocktail suggestions provided through Great Lakes Distilling’s website. It’s not hard to see how this would make an excellent mixer, and comparably to pumpkin liqueurs and mixers, provide a subtle and solid backbone to a classic cocktail, rather than dominating the other elements.

Suffice to say, if you’re a real whiskey fan looking for something with a little “seasonal spirit”, it’s an absolute no brainer to pick this up. And if you happen to be in the Milwaukee area on October 9th, stop by the distillery for the 3rd Annual Release Party, and dip your own bottle in that shiny orange wax.

2011 Rankings!

Here it is folks! With over 35 product reviews this season, we’re breaking down our collective top ten beer rankings, our top five personal picks, and our personal brew to avoid (all of which are conveniently linked back to the original review).  So if you’ve been keeping track of who you most match up with taste wise, hopefully this guide will come in handy for next years hunt! Thanks again for following our little crusade here, and we hope you all have a great holiday season (and a fridge stocked with some epic winter brews).

Now without further ado…


Overall Top Ten Pumpkin Beer Rankings                                                                     Score

10        Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Cigar City Brewing                   6.33


9 (tie)

            Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewing                                                                         6.58

            Lakefront Pumpkin Lager – Lakefront Brewing, Inc                               6.58


8 (tie)

            Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider – California Cider Company                           6.75

            Pugsley’s Signature Smashed Pumpkin Ale – Shipyard Brewery     6.75

            Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale – Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co.      6.75


7 (tie)

            Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                  6.92

            Small Patch Pumpkin Ale – Tommyknocker Brewery                           6.92


6          Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company                            7.00


5          Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company                 7.17


4          The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog Brewery                         7.33


3          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                      7.58


2          Schlafly Pumpkin Ale  – The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc.                        7.67    


1 (tie)


            The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)            8.25

            Pumpking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                           8.25


Mike’s Picks

1          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                             8.92

2          Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale – Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co.          8.75

3          Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                8.50

4          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                  8.42

5          Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company                        8.42


Avoid: Saranac Pumpkin Ale – Matt Brewing Company                                         3.25


Tim’s Picks

1          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                         8.25

2          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                   7.92

3          Schlafly Pumpkin Ale  – The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc.                                7.75

4          Terrapin Pumpkinfest (Vintage 2011) – Terrapin Beer Co.                         7.25

5          Jacques Au Lantern – Evolution Craft Brewing                                              7.17


Avoid: Pumpkinhead Ale – Shipyard Brewery                                                            3.08


Brittney’s Picks

1          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                                8.17    

2          Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                   7.83

3          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                     7.67

4          Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewing                                                                        7.58

5          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                           7.42

Avoid: Rumpkin 2011 Annual Barrel Series – Avery Brewing Company             3.50


Rick’s Picks

1          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                     8.67

2          The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog Brewery                                 8.58

3          Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company                                   8.50

4          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                                8.42

5          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                           8.33

Avoid: Private Reserve Pumpkin – Woodchuck Cidery                                             3.50


Terrapin Pumpkinfest (Vintage 2011) – Terrapin Beer Co.

Originally created as one of Terrapin’s Side Project series, Pumpkinfest has become so popular that it’s now graduated to a regular seasonal brew. If nothing more, that’s certainly a testament to the craft brewing world’s spirit of creativity and daring being rewarded by followers all too rabid for the next new palatial experience. It’s also an ingenious method of solving the annual Oktoberfest or Pumpkin beer debate raging in most peoples heads while standing in front of their favorite Package store shelves…


Name:  Terrapin Pumpkinfest (Vintage 2011)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Georgia, USA / Terrapin Beer Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin – Oktoberfest Blend / 6.1%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Pumpkinfest is brewed with the malts of your favorite German fest beers (specifically Munich, Vienna, Munich II, Catamunich II, Melanoiden), Vanguard and Hallertau Hershrucker Hops, and over a pound of pumpkin per barrel, along with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove. It’s worth noting that since this is modeled in the Oktoberfest style, this beer is a lager, and not an ale.



I really dig the folksy Americana vibe we get from this bottle, with a Turtle (everyone knows a Terrapin is a species of turtle right?) tapping a big pumpkin for a frothy barrel of beer, set against a wheat field, fall leaves flowing and a stack of pumpkins piled high in the back.  – Tim

What looks like a personified hop-farmer sits in a pumpkin patch.  A short bit of text on the side tells us that this isn’t just a pumpkin beer but an Oktoberfest as well.  Claiming that Terrapin is “Carving out a fall tradition” and becoming a “PumpkinFest” beer. – Brittney


Color:  6.5

A cherry red core surrounded by rich Dunkel brown lager. Glass length lacing compliments a modest one finger head. – Mike

Terrapin boasts a strong coloration of brown amber.  I am pretty impressed with the amount of red that accents the body though.  There’s a decent foamy head on top with good lacing, and a bubbly appearance. – Rick

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


Aroma:  6.5

It’s a subtle creamy pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg.  I’m also noticing a sugary vanilla and wheat backing that is holding it together and creating that more bread-like than pie-like quality. – Brittney

Surprising amounts of Pumpkin, Allspice, and nutmeg with a distinctly malty base. – Mike

The feel is very watery on this ale.  It seems heavily carbonated and heavily spiced. – Rick

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


Mouth feel:  6

Light with springy carbonation on the palate, and a smooth suppleness that I wasn’t expecting considering this is a breed of lager – and I think we all know my opinion on most American Lagers by now. – Tim

More carbonation than our first looks let on.  It’s light to medium bodied and easy to drink, not nearly as syrupy as I would have imagined by looking at it and actually a bit dry. – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 6.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 3


Tasting notes: 7

There is a slight pumpkin flavor that adds a distinct sourness to the overall body if you can look beyond the spiciness.  It also has a good nutty flavor mixed into the very light body that plays well with the dryness. – Rick

I wasn’t expecting a full-fledged pumpkin beer here (because it’s not) and that was probably for the better.  It is an honest pumpkin beer, it’s got a great pumpkin and spice flavor with just the right touch of malt but it also shares the stage with some of those expected Oktoberfest traits.  It’s ballsy to put two very beloved styles in one bottle and try to make two sets of fans happy in one shot but I think Terrapin deserves a job well done. – Brittney

Delicious Sweet pumpkin up front with a healthy dose of cinnamon and nutmeg, gives way to a bitter German lager so distinctly different, it comes off two faced. – Mike

A cross between a pumpkin beer and an Oktoberfest brew, Terrapin has created a ‘pumpkin lager’ that while maintaining some of the milder characteristics of a lager still manages–thanks to the inclusion of some prominent spices–a hearty fall feeling that would work nicely to cut through the more rich Thanksgiving type foods.  There is a pleasant sweetness here that doesn’t overpower or turn the beer desserty and a touch of heat from the ginger.  I’m surprised at how fast I drank this beer–it just seemed to vanish from the glass. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 3.5


Finish: 6.5

The finish is exceptionally dry and crisp in the style of your darker leaning Bavarian favorites, and a lingering of pumpkin and malt hangs around a bit to see if you’re going to finish your spaetzle. – Mike

It’s super dry and bitter with just a dash of sweetness.  The carbonation bites pretty hard too. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7 / R- 4


Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

Perhaps it’s the Fest vibe, but the bitterness of this ale seems to favor the spicier end of the pumpkin world. – Mike

The pumpkin in this variety is fresh and in a lighter bodied beer that works both for and against the balance.  It works in favor because it’s in harmony with the crispness of the beer but it also gets trampled on a bit by the spices. Overall though Terrapin did a good job of not beating down the beer since the spices–while prominent–are balanced amongst themselves rather well. – Tim

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It has a decent balance, but the dryness is from being overly spiced which leaves no room for the sweetness to flourish. – Rick

This beer achieves a near perfect blend of sweet to dry–this is especially impressive as lagers tend to finish dry as a bone. – Tim

M- 6 / T- 9 / B- 6.5 / R- 4

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I’m really enjoying the complexities of the PumpkinFest.  From beginning to end the multiple flavor profiles are satiating what it takes a combination of other beers to fulfill – Brittney

The multiple nuances of this duplicitous brew is more than interesting enough, and certainly pleasing, to bring me back fro a few.

M- 8 / T- 9 / B- 7.5 / R- 3.5


Overall:  6.50

M- 7.00 / T- 7.25 / B- 7.25 / R- 3.91

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager – Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

Dramatic, no? Yes, that’s an alembic pot still, and no, we would never dream of doing anything…illegal with it. It is tempting though, particularly with all this pumpkin beer laying around. Our fore father’s might have done otherwise. In fact, today’s offering also pays tribute to early America’s love of the drink. Read on dear followers, our originators were kind of bad ass…


Name: Lakefront Pumpkin Lager

Place of Origin / Brewer: Wisconsin, USA – Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

Beer style / ABV%:  Amber / Dunkel Style Lager, 6.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: It seems America has a rich tradition of founding fathers that are keen on pumpkin beer. While previous reviews have touched on our first president, Lakefront Brewer Russ Klisch pays tribute to the recipe of the more enigmatic character of Thomas Jefferson. Similarly enigmatic, this beer claims to be the only pumpkin lager available in the world (the rest are ales), and is lagered for four full weeks.



With a clear and simple in your face design, there’s no mistaking what you’re getting yourself into.  The bold logo and type really help this beer stand out of the crowd. – Rick

Lakefront’s dark green label and bold lettering is very eye catching. It has an almost Noir look to it. Nothing too flashy, yet very sleek. – Keenan

Kelly green and orange with golden tendrils of vines and leaves surrounding the central image–it’s a handsome label.  The “pumpkin” pops and definitely helps this beer leap off the shelf in a sea of more muted labels. – Tim


Color: 7

A yellow orange glow like that of ripe pumpkin innards that is so sharp and clear when lit, the head appears to glow. – Mike

This lager has a great dark orange color with amber and caramel tones that help accentuate a light and airy head.  I think all pumpkin lagers strive for coloration as tempting as this one presents. – Rick

It does have a faint orange hue that distinguishes it from an ordinary lager, but otherwise there’s not much special here.  Thin head retreats to practically nothing but it does lace the glass fair enough. – Erich

M – 8 / T- 6 / K- 7 / R- 8 / E – 5


Aroma: 8

Malty and strong, with lots of nutmeg, cumin, and clove. Pumpkin is very present on this nose as well. Very inviting. I can taste it in the back of my throat without even putting my lips to it. – Mike

As I carefully peeled away the cap on the bottle, I was hit with the amazing aroma of this pumpkin lager. Very rich and strong. – Keenan

Pure pumpkin pie hits you right in the face with nutmeg, cinnamon and clove.  But surprising notes of Cola are also present, concerning me that this was going to be a sickly sweet offering. – Tim

M – 9 / T- 8 / K- 9 / R- 8 / E – 4


Mouth feel: 7

Quite pleasant and smooth.  Spices tread lightly, and the carbonation is well controlled.  Light, but not too watery. – Erich

As with most lagers this one has a light to medium body with the kind of bright carbonation that would make this a great ice cold summer beer, but stands as a bit perplexing for a more complex fall brew.  I want something with a bit more depth, and a lager nine times out of ten is just not going to cut it for a fall beer. – Tim

Lightly effervescent, as the moderate head would indicate. It’s nice and clean with a hint of bitter bite that lets you know this is still a beer. – Mike

M – 6.5 / T- 5 / K-  6.5 / R- 7 / E – 8


Tasting notes: 6

Pumpkin is very present, and the spices, despite the nose, seem to sit back and happily mingle. Sweetness verging on a dessert, which well excellent, might limit it’s multiple consumption limit. Definitive ginger here as well, which does help balance out the sweetness with some crispness. – Mike

American lagers tend to be a bit too clean, crisp and bland and unfortunately this Pumpkin Lager doesn’t do much to avert the trend.  Neither the hops, malt or yeast demand much attention, nor do the pumpkin and spices.  This seems too dilute, too subtle, too light. – Erich

This is a great tasting lager that really surprises with its sweet spices and overall smoothness.  The hint of clove really shines, helping to balance the sweetness of the malts. – Rick

M – 8 / T- 5 / K- 6 / R- 7.5 / E – 3


Finish: 5.5

Clean and short-lived to a fault.  An initial flare of pumpkin and spice snuffs out quickly.  Nothing lasts or builds upon itself with subsequent sips. – Erich

Almost powdery on the back of the throat, like I can feel the spices separating from the fluid. There a crisp flash of cinnamon as it goes down that lingers on the gum line. Has lakefront developed the ultimate fall make out beer? – Mike

This pumpkin lager definitely carries a light to bitter taste. I feel the best taste in this lager is it’s after taste. Once the beer is gone I had an amazing after taste. One I have never experienced with other pumpkin brews. Though, it does not help the over all taste. – Keenan

M – 8.5 / T- 4 / K- 6 / R- 7 / E – 2


Flavor balance:6

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

No pumpkin to speak of in here.  Spices are all on the nose with a few on the finish.  They don’t overpower the beer, but you can’t have balance if one half of the equation is missing. – Tim

This one impresses me. While some pumpkin ales I’ve had achieve balance with a muted sensibilities, this lager is bold enough to thrust them both proudly upon the palate, and declare your tongue it’s bitch. – Mike

M – 9.5 / T- 2 / K- 7 / R- 8 / E – 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

Actually a nice even mix on the sweetness, it’s sort of Goldilocks ‘just right’ until the bitter finish gets to you. – Tim

I liked being surprised by the sweetness of this beer, especially after the initial spicy aroma. – Rick

M – 4 / T- 7 / K- 4 / R- 7.5 / E – 8

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Tasty as it is, this treat could easily trick you into a few. But the sweetness over an evening, might leave you regretting not have making it a one and done. – Mike

This lager is very easy to take in, and I suspect very easy on the way out like other American lagers.  Whether or not a veteran beer lover would desire for more of these is another question – there’s not a lot to pique their interest here. – Erich

M – 4 / T- 4 / K- 5 / R- 6 / E – 8


Overall: 6.58

True to the enigma of it’s creator, this beer has yielded some surprisingly different opinions this round. We’ve tried to add some point / counterpoint to justify the score variance, but hopefully by now you guys are starting to get a feel for who’s palate your own might resemble! Let us know your thoughts!

M – 7.67 / T- 5.42 / K- 6.67 / R- 7.42 / E – 4.83