Taking advantage of a rare night when both of my boys were home in early November, and in keeping with the spirit of the season, the Robinsons staged our own pumpkin ale tasting (sorry it took so long to post this). It might not have been the most complete sampling of pumpkin-flavored beers, but we did get through three 22-ounce bottles before we agreed that we had enough. I opened the fourth bottle a week later.
All of the brews were fine, but pumpkin beer is like pumpkin pie and pretty much anything else pumpkin – you can only take so much, if any. For Beth Robinson, her sampling ended with just a sip of each.
Epic Brewing’s Imperial Pumpkin Porter had a nice spice flavor, but not much pumpkin to it. Nothing special. The Shipyard Brewing Co. Smashed Pumpkin definitely had more pumpkin to it and was actually a nice, refreshing ale. It was our favorite, but is better suited for sampling than quaffing. That was even more true of the Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale, which was a bit more earthy and carried more of the vegetable characteristics. It wasn’t bad, but it only confirmed that it was time to change directions.
The Hangar 24 Local Fields “Gourdgeous” Imperial Porter that I opened later might have been the best of the lot, mainly because I have a preference for the darker beers. Nevertheless, it had a ton of spice and was very similar to Stone’s 2012 Vertical Epic 12-12-12 (although I didn’t taste them side by side, that is the comparison that immediately came to mind).
Thanks to Jaclyn Bosson for the idea, and next time I think we’ll try another specialized tasting with beers brewed with a winter holiday theme – as long as none of them taste like pumpkin.