The Great Pumpkin Post

Pumpkin beers seem to really divide a lot of you folks out there. Personally, the only thing I really give a shit about is them not coming out while summer is still in full swing. Goddamn that Seasonal Creep. Goddamn him all to hell (But it's still a pretty dope name for a fall seasonal, so DIBS!). Seriously though, it's just beer. People need to relax. And like any styles, there a few good ones, and a whole lot of shitty ones. I spent the last month drinking a bunch of them, and experiencing palate fatigue unlike I have ever had in my life and I'm about to show you which ones were shitty, and which ones were not.

Elysian/21st Amendment "He Said" Baltic Porter



First up is one half of this collaboration beer I was super excited about. This beer really dark, no light is getting through. The nose is really pleasant. It's sweet and roasted, and then the alcohol is all "oh hey I'm here too!" It's completely devoid of spices or anything to make you think its a pumpkin beer. Thank god.

While drinking, there's a wonderful chocolate taste right off the bat, then comes a (surprising) wave of spices that you come to expect from a pumpkin beer. All this greatness is all capped off with a very slight burn of alcohol. This really is a solid beer, "pumpkin" or not, I would not hesitate to buy this beer again. If you find it, get it. And then take the Belgian tripel, and throw it at the face of the person nearest you. This is the only beer you need.

The chocolate aspect of this beer, with the not-overwhelming amount of spices worked REALLY well. Bravo.






Oh snap! A cider! A cider that looks like...a cider should. Like carbonated apple juice. I gave it one hell of an aggressive pour and was barely able to muster any head. But man, it smells REALLY tart. Theres a nose full of Granny Smith, and maybe some McIntosh apples. But chances are I have no idea what I'm talking about. Oh and there's a subtle spice lingering around in there.

Whoa! The taste is totally opposite! Imagine a delicious apple juice (don't you dare say Motts), throw in some spice and a reaaaaally slight hint of alcohol. This is really goddamned tasty. I'm absolutely in love the mix of spices with this cider. I never thought I'd use the word "refreshing" when it comes to a fall seasonal, but with the light crispness of the cider, and the perfect mix of spices, this is friggin' delicious. As my dear friend, Craft Beer Coach would say, "it's Juicy in yo MOUF." I'm for seriously bummed I'm all out of this. Oh and the relatively high ABV (comparatively speaking), really sneaks up on you.






Oh look, it's the supposed holy grail of pumpkin beers.  Well guess what?  It looks just like any other beer when I pour it in my glass. TAKE THAT! Whatever. It smells really good. Big sweet malt, your usual fall spices. But one thing about this beer I do love, is the hint of a sweet cream, vanilla-y scent. I sat there , nose buried in my glass, making sure I wasn't just dumb. This scent really came through in the flavor as well. Pretty much all of the scents did. For the most part, this beer is ridiculously well rounded. BUT..This beer is SUPER sweet. This beer is liquid pumpkin pie with whip cream. It's easy to see why this is one of the go-to pumpkin beers. It really is good.

But after the first glass, I just cant. Of all the things I can, I just can't when it comes to Pumking. It becomes this cloying beast that wants my soul. The sweetness becomes overwhelming, and I want to die. Sell it in 4 packs. I'll drink one in October, and make the other 3 last a year. But I'll tell you what, of all of today's beers, this one has my favorite label.






You know everything you know about Belgian tripels? Yeah this beer is that. None of that fall spice nonsense. Nothing.

With all that said, this beer is good, it's a very solid tripel. But a "pumpkin" tripel this is not. This was the other half of the "He Said" collaboration between Elysian and 21st Amendment. This was the beer I was most looking forward to, and for the style, was most let down with. But for what it is, is probably one of the best beer of the bunch.














Due to my past experience with Smashed Blueberry, I was expecting this beer to be wicked dark. Whoops. Looking at it, and smelling it, it reminds my of a toned down version of Pumking...and most other pumpkin beers. I  think by this point I may have developed pumpkin fatigue. It smells like autumn and sweetness. It's definitely thicker than I was expecting, and not nearly as sweet as I thought it would be. But for the most part, it's boozy and boring. It's spicy, like every other damn pumpkin beer. This beer brings absolutely nothing different to the table other than being a bit heavier in the mouth. 

Malt profile comes out big time as it warms, which is a saving grace. But it's definitely not enough. To be fair, I just plain do not like Shipyard, and I would gladly take every bottle of Pumpkinhead and drain pour it in front of them while insulting their mothers. And I would gladly drink their Smashed Blueberry again now that I have a more...discerning palate, and see what I think about it.






I've taken to pronouncing them "Schblahbly" This beer looks unlike all the other pumpkin beers I've had yet (save for the Baltic). A dark, semi-transparent, muddled orange/amber. Nose is sweet. but not overbearing with the spice aspect. This is perfectly balanced. It doesn't have that "dessert nose" that Pumking had. I love it already.

The taste is incredible. Not chock full of spice. This beer drinks extremely smooth. A wonderful malt profile, and a carefully calculated amount of spice makes this beer one of the easy contenders for "best in show." Seriously, this is the pumpkin beer that others should aspire to be. at 8%, you would never even know, until your clothes are "off" and you arrested for "public drunkenness." I have one bottle left, and I am cherishing it. If you see this, get it. Don't even think about it, just buy every single case you can shove into your Prius. You will not regret it, because this beer is fucking great. I would drink this on a 300 degree day.







Last and least. Dogfish Head, where my daily "love and hate" struggle continues. This and Schlafly both look strikingly similar. It smells sweet. Definitely getting the brown sugar more than anything, but the spices are there. Thankfully, more in the background.

It tastes really...thin. Surprisingly there's not a whole lot going on. The spices I have come to expect are there, but on a really small scale. Definitely more carbonated than a lot of the others There's something weird going on I just cant put my finger on. The first two sips and there wasn't a whole lot of anything...Now I'm getting all that nutmeg and cinnamon. Smells and tastes like fall. This is a good beer, but when the flavors made themselves known, they REALLY made themselves known. I couldn't drink more than one. This one I struggle with the most. Its so much alike, and so much different than all the others. I like it, and I don't like it.

I guess that's what DFH does though, keeps me on my toes.


So, I guess that wraps it up. I drank all of these over the entire month of October.I think next year, I might pass on the whole "Pumpkin" beer thing. My poor tongue hates me, and If I never taste nutmeg, allspice,clove, and cinnamon again, I think I'll be a happy guy.

And while you're drinking these, I found the perfect fall music pairing to go along with it.


Enjoy your Pumpkin beers. Or dont. I don't care.

1 comment:

  1. Your comment about palate fatigue really hit home for me. I went pumpkin beer crazy last year drinking anything I could get my hands on. This year, I almost have no desire to seek any out. I've had a few (even brewed a batch at my fiance's behest), but my desire to down them in bulk like I have in years past has seriously waned.

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