5 on Friday: 5 Pumpkin Beers
On Sunday we will officially hit the first day of fall, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to pumpkin ALL the things, including beer. This past Wednesday I went to Queen of the Pumpkin Ales at Hearthstone Coffee House and Pub, hosted by Girls’ Pint Out, and tried four varieties of pumpkin beer. Here’s what I thought of them, plus my favorite pumpkin beer of all time. Unlike most of my 5 on Friday lists, this one is in order from least favorite to favorite.
5) Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin – This was a bit too sweet for me. While it seems so many pumpkin beers are heavy on the spice and light on the pumpkin, this was heavy on the pumpkin and light on spice. It just wasn’t very well balanced.
4) Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – Smuttynose’s Pumpkin Ale is a middle of the road pumpkin beer. It’s not great, but it’s not horrible either. There’s not too much pumpkin flavor, but the flavors that are there are good. It’s representative of how I feel about most pumpkin beers, which is “what’s all the fuss about.”
3) Flat12 Flat Jack – Flat Jack is not usually what I look for in a pumpkin beer. It’s really as more of a pumpkin spice flavor than actual pumpkin. But, I really liked it. It wasn’t as heavy and filling as most pumpkin beers, and although it had the lowest IBUs of the beers I tried with Girls Pint Out, it had more hop flavor. Overall, it was well balanced and tasted like fall.
2) Lakefront Pumpkin Lager – I don’t drink a ton of lagers, there just aren’t a ton of them in the craft beer market (at least not around Indiana). This one from Lakefront is actually the pumpkin lager in the world (according to their website), every other pumpkin beer is an ale. It was definitely a different kind of pumpkin beer, it had a fuller mouthfeel and was almost velvety. It was overall the favorite of the Queen of the Pumpkin Ales event.
1) Schlafly Pumpkin Ale – The ever elusive Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. This is exactly what pumpkin beer should be. You take a sip and it’s like you’re drinking pumpkin pie. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s nutty and spicy and amazing. It is the first pumpkin beer I have had (at the insistence of Tamre of Tiny Table), and for better or worse it will forever be the pumpkin beer against which I measure all others. If you can find this, buy it as soon as you see it. It never stays on the shelf for long.
Hearthstone will be serving the various pumpkin beers from the Queen of the Pumpkin Ales event (all of the above except Schlafly’s) until they’re out. So if you’re in Indy, stop by and try a flight.
Now, does anyone know where I can find a pumpkin martini….
I have to find the Schlafly. I had a couple of bad experiences with pumpkin beer in the past, I forget which ones (but I know they weren’t any on this list). The ones I tried didn’t taste like anything except beer, and not even good beer, so disappointing. I am obsessed with finding a pumpkin beer that I will really enjoy. Somehow, I haven’t tried any on this list. Must fix that.