Monday, October 6, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Beer Taste Off

My affinity for all things pumpkin spice is well known to all my friends. So even though I am not normally the kind of girl who is going to sit down after a long day at work and crack open a beer, I can make an exception when said beer is of the p.spice persuasion. So last Thursday, while watching Joe Biden tear up the VP debate, Erin and I tried the three pumpkin spice beers Whole Foods had to offer.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale (apparently America's original pumpkin ale, according to the label). This was the cheapest, so I took a somewhat snobby approach and assumed it would probably also be the worst. Erin and I cracked open one of these first thinking we'd start at the bottom and work our way up. Maybe the low expectations worked for this beer, though, because we were both pleasantly surprised. Not particularly pumpkiny but there was good overall spice. If it wasn't seasonal, I could actually see myself drinking this beer on a regular basis and mixing up my usual routine of drinking whatever cheap red wine I find at our local quik-e-mart.

Brooklyn Brewery's Post Road Pumpkin Ale. I recognized Brooklyn Brewery from my dad's tendency to keep beers on tap at his restaurant that he personally enjoys drinking after a shift in the kitchen. Seeing how much he enjoyed their product, I had higher expectations for this beer. It turns out my dad and I probably don't have the same taste in beer. It was alright. I mean, I drank it, but it too lacked any real hint of pumpkin. On top of that, the spice in the beer was very heavy, and the beer lacked a sweetness that helped balance the Buffalo Bill pumpkin ale. I'm sure we will eventually finish this 6 pack, but I wouldn't recommend the Post Road Pumpkin Ale if you are actually looking for a pumpkin ale.

Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale. I was most excited to try this beer based on the DC Foodies recommendation. It is definitely the only pumpkin ale that I have tried which really has any hint of squashy flavor in it. Dogfish Head definitely tries to make this beer more about the pumpkin and less about the spice. The overall effect is a much milder beer, and it is definitely a beer I can see myself enjoying in the falls to come. It just fits with the weather and the flavors of the season. Unlike the Buffalo Bill's ale, though, I don't know if I'd be drawn to this beer, say, in April, but in the middle of October this will be go to choice.
*Update. This weekend I tried the Wild Goose Pumpkin Patch Ale (sorry no picture), and I wasn't really a fan. I had the same problems with it that I had with the Brooklyn Brewery beer. Too spicy and too heavy. I suppose if you really liked heavy, spicy beers though (like my dad) this would be a good choice for you.


Jo said...

I love the Dogfish Punkin, but my favorite (by far) is Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin ale

The Search for J Street said...

I've heard about the Weyerbacher's, and I really want to try it. Yet never seem to find it anywhere. I've been to the Harris Teeter in Admo and Whole Foods in Logan with no such luck. Any suggestions on where to find it?

Jo said...

Are you willing to trek out to the 'burbs? I know rick's wine and gourmet in Alexandria has it (because that's where my fiancee works and where I get mine). But I think Bell's Wine Shop in Dupont might carry it, we know one of the guys who manage the place and he always has a great beer selection.