2015 Pumpkin Ales

 

It is Fall again, and I have selected seven pumpkin ales for this year’s showdown. Either I started the season too early, or I am really biting into the varieties available as I bought up all everything I haven’t reviewed yet and only found seven. Why do I do this?  So you won’t end up with a full pack of what might be a dreaded PINO, the Pumpkin In Name Only!

As with last year I’ll re-review a past winner, and because the varieties were fewer I’ll also review a past so-so bottle to see if anything changed.  Most are good on their own, the ranking is how good of a pumpkin ale they are.  “Great” to me means grandma’s pumpkin pie was thrown into a blender and converted magically into a cold bottled product.

Here they are, ranked least favorite to favorite.  More will be added as the Fall progresses.  At the bottom of the review is a list of all 38 varieties reviewed to date, in order of preference.

 

Samuel Adams Pumpkin Batch

samadamsbatch
I had high hopes for this one because their other pumpkin offering Harvest Pumpkin was good, but they must have brewed this from pumpkin rind discards.  I got it all down only because I paid for it, maybe there was something wrong with what ended up in the sample bottle but it was hard to finish.

 

 

 

 

Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking Ale

southerntierPumpking Ale tastes kind of like something with a “Black Forest” label, something in the aroma says “pumpkin” but the taste does not.  This is one that comes in big bottles in Costco.

 

 

 

 

 

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

weyerbacherSome spice aroma but too bitter for my taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Holland Ichabod Ale
ichabodpumpkinAt first I thought this was a slim notch above a PINO, but if you leave it in the glass a little while the spices come out a little bit.  Still not as spicy as others.

 

 

 

 

 

Ace Pumpkin Cider
aceTasty, but if you poured this out of an apple cider-branded bottle you probably wouldn’t know the difference.  A little pumpkin flavoring is there, and it is a bit tart.  Overall it is a good drink but it doesn’t stand out as a pumpkin one.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
BlueMoon-HarvestPumpkinAleThis year I decided to introduce a re-trial of a past non-winner.  This is the brand that in draft form at a baseball park introduced me to pumpkin ales.  The bottled variety didn’t impress me in a past review, but this year it was a little bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
shipyard-pumpkinhead-bottleI like to level-set my new year with a past winner, this one was Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale. A little slanted to caramel-ly this year, very good but not the top marks of 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Leinenliugels Harvest Patch Shandy
shandySpicy and tasty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mckenzie’s Pumpkin Jack Hard Cider
mckenziesOne of the ciders we’re trying this year.  Exceptional and is looking to be the winner of 2015.  If you are already familiar with apple-based ciders, this is kind of like a cider with a tablespoon of nutmeg mixed in but in a good way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full 2013-2015 Pumpkin Ales Review Rankings, 36 Varieties Ordered by Bill’s Preference

Mckenzie’s Pumpkin Jack Hard Cider

Cortland Beer Company Pumpkin Ale

Harpoon Unfiltered Pumpkin Ale

Shipyard Pumpkinhead

Alewerks Pumpkin Ale

Saint Louis Brewery Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Southampton Publick House Pumpkin Ale

Fordham Spiced Harvest Ale

RJ Rockers Gruntled Pumpkin Ale

Leinenliugels Harvest Patch Shandy

Evolution Craft Jacques All Lantern

Ichabod Crandall

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin

Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin

Ithaca Beer Company Country Pumpkin

Traveler Beer Company Jacko Traveler Seasonal Shandy

Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale

Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Porter

New Holland Ichabod Ale

Red Hook Pumpkin Porter

Blue Point Pumpkin Ale

Ace Pumpkin Cider

Long Trail Pumpkin Ale

Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company Pumpkin Hunter

Flying Dog Brewery Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

New Belgium Pumpkick

Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery America’s Original Pumpkin Ale

Wood Chuck Hard Cider Pumpkin

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking Ale

Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

Samuel Adams Pumpkin Batch

 

 

 

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