Pumpkin schmumpkin I hear you cry. But just wait a minute…I thought the same about pumpkin beer, until Sunday night when the other half and I discovered some absolute crackers. With absolutely no hint of the artificial flavouring that I have long associated with flavoured or seasonal beers (except for those aged in spirits casks….I mean, who can complain about Fuller’s Reserve aged in an Armagnac cask???), this selection from the fabulous team at Ales By Mail was a pleasant surprise.
Beavertown Stingy Jack, 7.2%
Lots of warm spice, nutmeg in particular, makes this one taste very Autumnal. Pumpkin notes are soft and there’s a slight bitterness that works well with the nutmeg.
For my tastebuds it was a little too sour although the other half didn’t agree.
Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale, 5%
Soft pumpkin aromas, more fruit and hops than pumpkin, and the taste was much the same. At first it seemed to lack flavour entirely but actually improved as it warmed up a bit and we later tried it with our sausage & mash…much better! Perfect with herby sausages!
Flying Dog The Gourd Standard Pumpkin IPA, 6.7%
Superb pumpkin aromas and lots of warming spice. Made me reminisce of an Autumnal week in New England a few years back! I wanted more from the pumpkin flavour but felt it was overtaken a bit by a bitter hop punch. Perfect if you love that bitterness.
Brewdog Pumpkin King, 5.4%
Have Brewdog actually lined the bottle with pumpkin?? This genuinely smelt like the inside of a pumpkin and tasted like I was drinking from one too. Light hops, slightly vegetal but also a hint of sweetness. Works brilliantly with sausage and mash!
Personal fave was Brewdog but quite honestly none were awful. I felt a little disappointed by Brooklyn but it certainly wasn’t bad. It’s all subjective of course – the other half absolutely favoured Flying Dog.
One piece of advice though…try a pumpkin beer with hearty helping of sausage and mash. Autumn on a plate.