Ehm. I…might…have gone a little bit overboard for this Into the Pint Glass.
I swear I didn’t drink these all at once (although how glorious does that sound? Now I want to, like, create a Hocus Pocus drinking game with pumpkin beer).
I’m not even sorry, though. Purists may hate on it, but I get a little giddy when I see the first batch of Sam Adams’ Harvest Pumpkin show up on shelves. And then when I start seeing an entire shelf or two in the “seasonal” section of Bottlecraft crowded with pumpkin ales, it becomes yet another place I can’t be in unsupervised.
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (6.7% ABV)
Color/appearance: Nice caramel. I ordered this at San Diego Brewing Company a few weeks ago so I didn’t get to see it right as it was poured. And it was kinda dim in there.
Aroma: Definitely smelling the spices (mostly nutmeg, I think), and some legit pumpkin in there, too.
Taste: It was like pumpkin gingerbread. The mouthfeel was very smooth with minimal carbonation. Honestly, it was almost kinda like drinking a watery smoothie — like, a little on the thick side, almost like a cream ale. Which sounds weird but it was really, really good.
Overall: Please sir, may I have some more? Elysian actually has several pumpkin beers and I want to try them all.
Ballast Point Pumpkin Down (5.8%)
Color/appearance: Very rich caramel color, with minimal head and just a little lacing.
Aroma: Malty, with a subdued pumpkin scent (pumpkin mostly, not spices).
Taste: The pumpkin flavor and spices hit right away, but didn’t linger or get overpowering. Very mild bitterness at the end.
Overall: I’ve never had a Scottish ale that I can remember, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect for the “base” flavor. This also means I didn’t have much to compare it to (well, other pumpkin beers, but besides that). It wasn’t as heavy as I was expecting and the pumpkin flavor was prominent but pretty well-balanced. I’d happily drink it again.
Coronado Punk’in Drublic (8.0% ABV)
Color/appearance: Light caramel with a thin tan head that dissipated quickly.
Aroma: Some sweet malts. I didn’t get a strong pumpkin spice scent, but there was a subtle note of straight pumpkin.
Taste: The initial taste of the spices was almost tangy, like there was extra ginger or something with a little zing. Overall they were strong but not overpowering. There was a sharp bitterness that hit the back of my tongue.
Overall: This one was interesting. Probably not my favorite, but it was nice to drink something where the brewers were trying to do something different.
Saranac Pumpkin Ale (5.1% ABV)
Color/appearance: A little more amber/orange than caramel. It looked really similar in color to Boston Lager. There was a light cream-colored head.
Aroma: There wasn’t a strong aroma on this one. Some very subtle malts but I didn’t pick up much else.
Taste: Ooooh, this one was tasty. I got actual pumpkin and pumpkin spices, especially some cinnamon and nutmeg, and it was all nicely balanced.
Overall: I’d never heard of Saranac. But I found this mini-growler at Trader Joe’s for five bucks and figured eh, why not? And damn, it might have been the best five bucks I’ve spent in awhile. If this is still on their shelves I’d probably pick it up again.
Last Into the Pint Glass in two weeks! Let’s go out with a bang!