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Quest for Pumpkin Beer

I thought it would be in the spirit of the season to include a couple of contrasting pumpkin brews in my beer class this Oct. After having an amazing, rich, and savory pumpkin brew at Broad Ripple Brewery a couple of year back I decided that pumpkin beer may not be too bad.

This lead me on an adventure that I'm not sure if I really enjoyed. I tasted six pumpkin brews from six, generally respectable, breweries. I had some goodies mixed in with some real baddies.

While six may not be a good representative sample, I've decided that I'm not a big fan of the pumpkin brews. Too much bad cancels out the good in my opinion.

These are my discoveries on my personal path to pumpkin beer enlightenment.
  • Too many breweries aren't brewing this style to my tastes. 
  • I think that if you have a pumpkin beer, you should showcase the pumpkin. 
  • A pumpkin pie clone isn't necessarily desirable. (Though done right it can be tasty.)
  • Pumpkin flavoring and that fake cinnamon flavor does not do it for me. If you are going to go for the pumpkin pie spice attempt, use the whole trifecta not just cinnamon. 
  • Light and crisp are not qualities of a pumpkin, so why would they make for a good pumpkin beer.
The journey of my taste buds lead to these six selections (some intentional, some based on availability):

  1. Shipyard Pumpkin Head
  2. Lakefront Pumpkin Lager
  3. New Holland Ichabod
  4. Greenbush Unicorn Killer
  5. Southern Tier Pumking
  6. Flat 12 Flat Jack


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