Review: Pumpkin Ale, Smuttynose Brewing

Pumpkin Ale
Smuttynose Brewing Co. — Portsmouth, NH

  • Style:  Vegetable Ale
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • Alcohol: 5.6% ABV
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle
  • Full Disclosure:  Sample provided by brewery

  "Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is our homage to the craft and heritage of America’s brewers. Recipes calling for the use of pumpkins in beer date back to early colonial times, when brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients, such as squash and 'pompions.' In that spirit, we brew our ale with the addition of pumpkin to the mash, along with traditional spices to create a delicious American original." — Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  The folks at Smuttynose have been kind enough to send me samples from time to time. They don't distribute in the west, and it's always a treat to sample a beer that's only available in other parts of our country. I've heard great things about their Pumpkin Ale was glad to include it in my Great Pumpkin Beer Roundup. Wine Enthusiast Magazine named it one of their Top 25 beers of 2009. Another pumpkin ale, Southern Tier's Pumpking also made the list.

The tasting:  Copper in color, slightly hazy, with a white head that dissipated very slowly and lingered for the entire drink. Spicy aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The same spices are present in flavor, but are subdued—allowing flavors of toasted malts, earthy hops, and pumpkin come through. A bit of alcohol is also present in the middle. Pumpkin Ale is medium boded, lightly carbonated, and has a smooth feel. It finishes with earthy hops and a touch of warming alcohol.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  Pumpkin Ale is a very well balanced beer. It has the the spicy aroma I expect of the style.  However, in many of the other pumpkin ales I've tasted, the spices dominate the flavor and don't allow the hops—or even the delicate pumpkin flavor to come through. Not so with this beer. If Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is available in your area, pick it up to get your fix of pumpkin this fall.

Have you tried Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale?  What are your favorite pumpkin brews?

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