13 Days of Pumpkin Beer: Day 4 – Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager

Guest blog post by Alia Broman

#4 – Oct 4, 2013: Pumpkin Lager by Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, WI)

Quiz time!  What is one of the only pumpkin beers that is a LAGER rather than an ALE? Answer: Lakefront’s Pumpkin!

Year of conception: at least since 1997 (it apparently won a tasting merit award)

Color: cloudy, golden orange

ABV: 6.0%

Cost: $9.49 + tax for 6-pack of 12oz bottles

Availability: all liquor stores great and small

Description by Lakefront Brewery: “Using real pumpkin and a proprietary blend of spices … our brewers’ lager this beer for 4 full weeks… A frothy entry leads to an off-dry medium-to-full body of intense cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and candied yam flavor on a nutty wheat toast palate. Finishes with a drier spice and light toffee fade. Caramel and Munich malts reinforce this beer’s mouthfeel and lend to the malty sweetness.”

A pleasant aroma of Midwest spices greets your nostrils as your mouth enjoys the full, rich taste of this Fall lager. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavors are quite prevalent, but not overwhelming. Drinking this beer is quite refreshing, and I agree that there is a light delightful toffee aftertaste. Definitively sweet, this beer is enjoyable but would not necessarily be paired with Monday Night Football. Although it does not fulfill my search for the “perfect” pumpkin beer, I wouldn’t hesitate to imbibe it again.

Pie Pieces: 3 – Orange

13 Days of Pumpkin Beer: Day 3 – Shipyard Brewing’s Pumpkinhead Ale

Guest blog post by Alia Broman

#3 – Oct 3, 2013: Pumpkinhead Ale by Shipyard Brewing Company (Portland, ME)

Whether from glass bottles, aluminum cans, or decorative gourds mother truckers, I have YET to meet a pumpkin beer that I couldn’t WAIT to try!

shipyard pumpkinhead

Year of conception: 2002

Color: cloudy, golden tan

ABV: 4.7%

Cost: $9.99 + tax for 6-pack of 12oz bottles

Availability: all liquor stores great and small

Description by Shipyard Brewing Co: A crisp and refreshing wheat ale with hints of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg aromas and flavors.

Sadly, that sentiment was taken to a spooky grave today by Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale.  While I couldn’t enjoy the aromatics of the Pumpkinhead Ale either from lack of, or seasonal nasal congestion, the spices will certainly clear out your sinuses.  The combination of cinnamon and nutmeg leaves this beer tasting more like a fiery red-hot than warm, sensual pumpkin pie.  And maybe it’s just because “pumpkinhead” is what I used to call my backyard neighbor growing up.  You know, the awkward boy who instead of turning into a swan turns into the co-star of your failed (initially romantic later discovered to be) homosexual male relationships?  Anyway, the point is that this beer is in its awkward tween years and it needs to stop trying so hard to be something it is not, i.e. a PUMPKIN beer.

Pie Pieces: 1 – Rotten

13 Days of Pumpkin Beer: Day 2 – Tommyknocker Brewery’s Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale

Guest blog post by Alia Broman

#2 – Oct 2, 2013: Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale by Tommyknocker Brewery (Idaho Springs, CO)

Apologies for my tardy post.  Being a full-time doctor during the day and a semi-professional classical musician occasionally doesn’t leave me much time to spend on my one true love: pumpkin beer!

tommyknocker-small-patch-pumpkin1Year of conception: 2011?

Color: malty, chocolaty brown; little head when poured

ABV: 5%

Cost: $9.99 + tax for 6-pack of 12oz bottles

Availability: most liquor stores great and small

Description by Tommyknocker Brewery: A hearty brown ale brewed to celebrate the fall harvest season. Brewed with a hint of spice and a touch of molasses, Small Patch has a malty backbone rounded out by an addition of real pumpkin to the mash and brew kettle. Think outside the patch!”

While Small Patch is hailed as a seasonal beer only enjoyable in Fall, the full, stouty-richness is a flavor I could curl up with during Winter snow storms.  The molasses overtones and slightly burnt signature stout fragrance make you want to happily drown in your glass.  The pumpkin spices are also semi-submerged in this brown ale, but tend to surface when you least expect it.  A bit dark for my taste in pumpkin beer, but a noble triumph nonetheless!  If you wear many different hats (as I do), you too may enjoy this subtle spin on an Autumn classic!

Pie Pieces: 3 – Orange

13 Days of Pumpkin Beer: Day 1 – New Belgium’s Pumpkick

Guest blog post by Alia Broman

I LOVE Fall! Crisp, clear days warming up to the 80s, and chilly nights requiring fuzzy fleeces.  Crunchy leaves, early morning frosts, and the anticipation of binging on candy provided by strangers.  But as I am at the age where it is inappropriate to go trick-or-treating without a child of my own, I am sequestered in my apartment, searching for the same enthusiasm for the month of October that I once had.

Then it hit me; the other reason I love October is pumpkins!  And what go better together than pumpkins and beer, or rather, pumpkins IN beer?!  Unfortunately, I don’t have access to enough pumpkin beer to blog about a different one for 30 days, but I’m going to try my hardest to blog about them for 13 days.  I will report on their color, ABV, cost (based on my local liquor store in Denver, Colorado), availability, and of course, pumpkiny-goodness!  Overall scores of awesomeness will be one to four pie pieces, as an ode to my anticipation of homemade pumpkin pie in November.  One pie piece is old and rotten, two is a green pumpkin from the grocery store, three is orange fresh from the pumpkin patch, and four is a hand-carved, smiling jack-o-lantern.

#1 – Oct 1, 2013: Pumpkick by New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO)   

lPumpkickLogo

Year of conception: 2013

ABV: 6%

Color: light amber, with a nice orange glow at the bottom of the glass from reflected light

Cost: $8.99 + tax for 6-pack of 12oz bottles

Availability: all liquor stores great and small

Description by New Belgium Brewing: “PUMPKICK is brewed with plenty of pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but it’s the cranberries and touch of lemongrass that send your taste buds sailing.”

Pumpkick has pleasant aromatics, with defined hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.  The first sip is a tangy assault on your tastebuds, but after sips two and more, the beer simply melts onto your palate.  It’s a very easy beer to drink, but also a very easy beer to forget.  As for the touch of lemongrass, I would argue that there are more than a few stalks per bottle, that culminate in a sour aftertaste.  The lemongrass and cranberries also seem to insult rather than complement each other.  That being said, my hat is tipped to my hometown brewery for entering into the stiff competition that comes with all seasonal ales.

Pie Pieces: 2 – Green