Monday, October 22, 2012

Beer O'Clock: In Search of the Great Pumpkin Ale, Part 4

Okay, I'm getting a little tired of pumpkin ale.

I've only been drinking pumpkin ale for a couple of years: since my friend, Perry, took me to Toronto for Volo Cask Days, when he introduced me to his own version of the seasonal ale and I first tried Great Lakes' interpretation.

Since pumpkin ales sprang up, I've limited my self to only a couple each year. Not so this year.

In addition to the pumpkin ales I've reviewed, I've had some at beer tastings and at social gatherings, where I haven't taken notes (I did review a pumpkin ale last week, along with other beers at a food pairing dinner). Needless to say, I've had more pumpkin ale this year than I've had in all other years, combined.

I'm getting pumpkin beered out.

That said, I did try two more pumpkin ales this weekend: one from Ontario, another from New York State. And both of them are available at the LCBO.

I tried the Ontario ale first.
Highballer Pumpkin Ale 
Grand River Brewing Company 
Cambridge, Ontario
LCBO: $3.95, 500 ml; 5.2% ABV
The last time I reviewed a beer by Grand River, I wasn't particularly kind and I was somewhat reluctant to review them again. What if I didn't like this offering from this small brewery? Would I publish my findings? I decided that they deserved another chance.

Deep orange-ambered, the white head dissipated fairly quickly but left a nice, thin lace. On the nose, I detected a definite pumpkin and spice aroma with some citrus. In the mouth, the flavour was an obvious pumpkin but almost no spice. The fruit of the pumpkin was all that came through and ended in a clean finish.

While I would have liked to taste more spice, this was a good, easy-drinking ale. Grand River had redeemed itself.

I followed the Ontario ale with one from Brooklyn, New York.
Post Road Pumpkin Ale
The Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn, New York
LCBO: $2.45, 355 ml; 5% ABV
While this seasonal is available in the LCBO, it is only available in limited quantities and only at a few stores.

Dark orange with a thick, beige, creamy head that lasts, this beer delivered a candied orange and malt nose. In the mouth, you are immediately hit with good hops, sour caramel, and orange rind. And like the Grand River, there was more pumpkin than spice.

But what disappointed me about this ale was the finish. The flavours seemed to drop off, leaving me with a watery finish. I didn't crave another sip after the first. And as I approached the bottom of my glass, I found myself bored with the whole drinking experience and did something I almost never do.

I dumped the rest of the glass down the kitchen drain.

Was I tired of drinking pumpkin beer? Perhaps. But I was certainly tired of this particular beer.

If you are determined to try all available pumpkin ales from this season, then give it a try. Give both of these beers a try.

I have a few more pumpkin beers to try. But then I may be done drinking pumpkin ales for a few years.


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