The Pumpkin Reviews Part 1

Some people would probably say I’m a little late in releasing these reviews since pumpkin beers were hitting shelves while I was still popping summer ales at the lake, but we’re not out of season yet, I haven’t carved any pumpkins, the trees haven’t dropped all their leaves and the cool autumn evenings haven’t given way to the first snow of the season. I am not going to try and hide the fact that fruit/spice beers are not my favorite style, and of the group pumpkin beers are probably my least favorite, but I know they are popular and I wanted to get some reviews out for pumpkin beers I don’t hear as much about, I’m not doing Pumpkinhead, if you’re a fan you’re a fan, but I would tell you to give some of these other’s a try. Look for a second post tomorrow with even more pumpkin beers.

Name: Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by: Matt Brewing Co., Utica NY

Bottle/Draft: 32oz Growler

ABV: 5.4%

Purchased: Bangor Wine and Cheese

This is a limited release fall seasonal, brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, all spice, cloves, ginger and vanilla.

Saranac pumpkin ale is a medium amber color, didn’t pour much of a head, just a thin white ring around the glass. Carbonation is visible.

This is definitely a spiced up beer. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are very pronounced in the nose. Just a hint of maltiness comes through the spices. No sign of hops in the smell.

I’m very surprised by the flavor of this beer, the spices are much more subtle than the smell would have suggested. The cinnamon is the dominate flavor followed by the nutmeg and cloves. There is just a hint of vanilla and ginger on the back end. The spice flavor is not as overwhelming as other pie spice beers I’ve had in the past. There is just a slight vegetal flavor in there; maybe I’m actually picking up on some of the pumpkin. This is a malty beer which I would expect of this style, I don’t pick up on any hops flavor at all.

Medium bodied beer with a crisp finish. Drinks pretty nice but the spices become tiring on the palate.

Overall I would say this is an OK pumpkin beer. Nothing about it makes it stand out from the crowd, this one could easily get lost in the sea of fall seasonal pie spiced beers.

Name: Pumpkin Ale

Brewed By: Long Trail Brewing Company, Bridgewater Corners, VT

Bottle/Draft: 12oz bottle

ABV: 5.5%

Purchased: Bangor Wine and Cheese

Pumpkin Ale is a fall seasonal brewed by the Long Trail brewing company, It is brewed with pumpkins and spices.

Pumpkin Ale has a copper color; pour did not produce much of a head but did leave lacing down the glass.

I’m not picking up a lot of distinct scents from this beer. Some spice, most likely cinnamon but just a trace, maybe just a slight nose of pumpkin and hops.

Nice malty ale that fits the season perfectly, with just a touch of hops flavor but not very strong. I’m not sure I care for the presentation of the spices in this beer, unlike other pie spice beers that are all spice up front and a clean finish this one is the opposite, nice clean malty ale that finishes with spices.

I would say this is a departure from the run of the mill pie spice beers. The presentation of the usual spice flavors is different, I’m not sure that this worked for me as the spices lingering after each sip became a bit overwhelming, I found myself wanting to drink more to get that initial clean taste at the beginning of the drink. The base beer here however is very well done, I can’t quite tell if this is one of Long Trail’s year round beers that have been adjusted to include pumpkin and spices but leaving out those ingredients would most likely leave you with a very Drinkable beer.

Name: Punkin Ale

Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton Delaware

Bottle/Draft: 12oz Bottle

AVB: 7%

Purchased: Burby and Bates, Orono Maine

Punkin Ale is described as a brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

First off, this is the lightest brown ale I’ve ever seen, it pours a bright copper color and looks more like pale or light red ale. The pour produced a very thick, foamy off-white head that quickly settled into a thick white layer. The beer appears hazy, as if there is sediment in suspension, it does not appear to be a filtered beer.

The smell of this beer is very pleasant, there is a toasty, malty smell and some sweetness, maybe caramel or brown sugar. The cinnamon and nutmeg are noticeable but not dominating the whole flavor profile. There is a slight earthy, vegetal aroma; this may be the pumpkin or the hops.

Nice flavor, this is not an overly spiced beer at all. All of the spices listed on the bottle are present and they all play well together then wash away leaving a clean mouthfeel.  The malt sweetness is balanced really nicely with the subtle pie spice. There isn’t much if any hops flavor or bitterness to speak of.

Overall I’m very pleased with this pumpkin beer, Dogfish Head rarely disappoints me and I’m happy to say this beer stands up to their reputation. This is one of the few pie spice beers I would actually drink more than one of. Worth grabbing a bottle while it’s still in season.



The Pumpkin Reviews Part 2


Saranac (Matt Brewing Company)


Twitter: @saranacbrewery

Bangor Wine and Cheese


Twitter: @BangorWine


Long Trail Brewing Company


Twitter: @Longtrailbrwing


Dogfish Head Craft Brewery


Twitter: @dogfishbeer


Burby and Bates


Chad Lothian

About Chad Lothian

Chad Lothian lives in Old Town, Maine. He is a craft beer enthusiast and homebrewer. Chad has travelled to brewpubs, breweries and brewfests all over New England.