I may begin to sound repetitive, but I have to say it-I love pumpkin. Even pumpkin beer. I’ve tried plenty over the years. You see, I fancy myself a beer “connoisseur”. Just kidding! I just like a good beer. My preferences are all over the place. If it tastes good, I’ll drink it. Porters, stouts, ales, IPAs, even a lager. So, of course I have to try pumpkin beer. Let me tell you, not all pumpkin beers are alike. Some don’t even have pumpkin! The brewers just put the spices in and call it pumpkin (spice) beer. Grrr.
I’m lucky. My little town grocery carries a wide variety of beers, from local brewed to imports. I was lucky enough to get three different pumpkin ales this year. (Actually, four, but I don’t like the fourth one. Call me a snob.) The three beers I got to drink this year -and they do have a season. A very short season- were Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale, and Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Ale. That last one is actually brewed about 2 blocks away. Always gotta support the local businesses, right?
So, here are my tasting notes:
Post Road was by far my favorite. It’s a stronger-tasting ale, a little bitter, sort of like an Irish red ale. It has a pronounced pumpkin flavor, a slight sweetness, and a nice balance of spices.It’s like a pumpkin pie beer. Alcohol content 5%. Post Road is brewed by Brooklyn Brewery in Utica, NY.
Buffalo Bill’s is a smoother ale, not very bitter at all. It’s pumpkin flavor is more subtle, as are the spices. It’s an easy drinking beer, almost like a lager. There’s hardly any aftertaste. Alcohol content 5.2%. Buffalo Bill’s Brewery is located in Hayward, CA.
Wooden Shoe drinks like an English brown ale. It’s pretty smooth, with just a little bit and hardly any aftertaste. It’s pumpkin flavor is almost lost behind the spices, most notably, nutmeg. In fact, the label says it’s “an ale brewed with pumpkin, nutmeg, and spices.” So there you go. Alcohol content 5.5%. Wooden Shoe Brewery is located in Minster, OH.
If you can find pumpkin ales, I highly recommend you give them a try. Well, if you’re a beer drinker, that is. Pumpkin ales, despite being flavored, make a fine fall beer. They’re a little more hearty, and go with a variety of fall dishes. I had Buffalo Bill’s with a sauerbraten-style roast beef sandwich. You could also try them, instead of wine, with a cheese tray. They’d make a fine accompaniment to English-style cheddar, brie, or a tangy goat cheese.
And if you can find a local brewery, please give them a try.