The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

 

 

So I decided to try some Pumpkin beers on Hallowe’en while watching some bad horror movies (starting with “The Children”- murderous kids and toddlers go on the rampage!) I had five different beers from four breweries. I started with Parallel 49’s Shadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. A clever idea marrying the easy, malty marzen style lager of the Oktoberfest with some pumpkin and spices of Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving.

 

 

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. Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

This is the only lager from the group and it certainly is easy drinking. There is some nice sweet pumpkin . . . → Read More: The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

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Driftwood Belle Royale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Driftwood Brewery Belle Royale is described as a Strong Belgian Cherry Ale, and seems to be based on a Tripel or strong golden ale recipe, with “900 pounds of cherries” added. They don’t specify how much beer gets the 900 pounds but we get the idea – there’s a lot, and they’re real cherries, not cherry flavour or syrup. It has a lovely pink amber colour, a thinnish head, with a spicy, fruity aroma. The flavour has a hit of sweet spice and sour red cherries that lingers on the palate and develops into a long finish . . . → Read More: Driftwood Belle Royale

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden . . . → Read More: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

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Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Bah Humbug is Wychwood Brewery’s offering at Christmas time to warm up those cold toes on a winter’s night. This is a very mildly spiced amber ale that is not quite malty enough to be a classic winter warmer, but it doesn’t pretend to be, as it is labelled ‘Christmas Ale’ and implies a more general festive beer, made with the addition of some seasonal flavour. This ale has a pleasant medium-bodied feel to it, with subtle notes of banana and clove; the hops are just detectable too, though mainly on the finish and aftertaste. The solitary . . . → Read More: Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Ale

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Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Anchor Brewing famously change the recipe for their Special Ale every year, as well choose a different tree, a symbol of the Winter Solstice, to adorn the label. This version (2009), when held up to the light, has a gorgeously dense ruby colour and an almost creamy pale tan head. The aroma is full of malty molasses with a definite hoppy highlight. The flavours that follow fill the mouth, but don’t overwhelm it; the main taste that starts off is a strong malty one, that develops into a black molasses backbone to the beer. There are some . . . → Read More: Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

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Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale is a fantastically warming, well spiced brew that comes in a nice 1 litre swing-top bottle. It has a dark amber colour with a loose head, a rich malty aroma with an obvious spiciness. This full-bodied Christmas Ale has a very malty profile that is the backbone for all the other seasonal flavours that are added. Ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon are the spices that give this warming beer bags of flavour, but it is kept well in balance, and not one really dominates. There are also definite notes of . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

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Fat Cat Brewery Honey Beer

Wrangler Rating: (Mediocre)

Fat Cat Brewery are a small producer in BC Canada (there is another with the same name in the UK) and this is their Honey Beer, an ale made with New Zealand tree sap honey. This gives this light amber brew a slightly smokey honey aroma. This is not a sweet tasting beer as they manage to get the honey flavour without the sugar, and the malt is in there too, but not integrated with the honey. There is also an overall bitterness to the brew, which reminds me of an astringent tree bark flavour, found . . . → Read More: Fat Cat Brewery Honey Beer

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Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale (as part of the John Mitchell series) may just be one of my favourite seasonal ales ever! The ruddy amber colour reminds me of fresh roasted pumpkin and the sweet aroma has just a touch of star anise. Unlike lesser Pumpkin Ales this full-bodied beer warms the stomach and actually tastes like pumpkin pie. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and roasted pumpkin flesh give way to the slightly astringent taste of cloves on the finish. At 8% this isn’t a beer for the faint hearted but it is absolutely perfect for the . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

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Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Granville Island Pumpkin Ale is a tasty bright ruddy amber coloured beer. The aroma is really quite sweet, and is reminiscent of a Belgian strong pale ale, smelling of candied orange peel and sweet spice. The flavour is thankfully not as sugary as the nose suggests, containing toasted pumpkin seed, and the roasted flesh of the pumpkin. The beer notes are not lost though, there are plenty of roasty malt flavours and a nice refreshing bitter finish. Why not pair this with some cold roast meat and chutney left over from a Thanksgiving lunch – it’ll go . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

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Traquair Jacobite Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Traquair Jacobite Ale is brewed in the historic Traquair House, one of the oldest inhabited houses in Britain. This beer descends from an 18th century recipe, and it has left us a very full-bodied Scotch Ale. The name ‘Jacobite’ comes from the followers of King James II of England, VII of Scotland who was deposed as King of Great Britain by the Dutch William of Orange. In 1745 there was a final failed attempt to oust the German King George II in favour of Charles Stuart ( the grandson of James II/VII) and this beer commemorates . . . → Read More: Traquair Jacobite Ale

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Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter is a robust beer with a strong taste of blackberry. The Porter flavour is fairly good and is not overwhelmed by the fruit, but the blackberry notes are stronger. The berry flavours are not sweet but give a long aftertaste which some of the Wrangler’s guests loved but the other half were not so sure. It has an off white, creamy head that lingers to the bottom of the glass and a deep opaque black/brown colour. There are some bitter notes from the hops but it’s in a supporting role to the . . . → Read More: Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter

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Mort Subite Kriek Lambic

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Mort Subite Kriek Lambic is a supremely well balanced ale, as the sweetness of the cherry flavour compliments the sharp acidity of this wildly fermented beer. Lambic yeast strains make very sour, yet quite complex beers, but this tartness is not for everyone. Traditionally sugary syrups were added in the bar, but soon brewers like Mort Subite added quality fruit syrup and real cherries to the beer before bottling to create a refreshingly fruity brew. The red cherry notes are not too sweet, but are in perfect harmony with the pleasant piquancy of the Lambic. This . . . → Read More: Mort Subite Kriek Lambic

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Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew Ale

Wrangler Rating: (excellent)

Fuller’s Honey Dew is a Golden / Summer Ale that is brewed with organic honey; don’t think that this is a sweet beer though, as the honey is subtle and beautifully balanced. There is a touch of the pale malt, a spritz of hops and the honey note that finishes it all off with a thirst quenching roundness. A nicely chilled pint of this on a hot summer’s afternoon is where it’s best. It is light enough to drink on its own all day, or matched with a summer salad or grilled chicken dish. It has . . . → Read More: Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew Ale

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Granville Island Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Mediocre)

Granville Island Raspberry Wheat Ale is a hugely fruitful beer, and for me a bit out of balance. The genuinely fruity flavours of fresh raspberry are not too sweet, but a bit overpowering for the subtle wheat ale notes. This beer will definitely have its fans, and rightly so. It is made by a good brewery whose line up of seasonal releases are always worth trying. The power of the wheat and malt are far too subtle and need a touch of strength to counter the fruit. However, if you like extremely fruity beers try this . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale

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Fraoch Heather Ale (Williams Bros. Brewing)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

This is a version of an old Scottish recipe, using heather flowers and gale to flavour the brew rather than hops. Gale is a plant traditionally use to make ‘Gruit’, a mixture of herbs to flavour ale. It is great to see someone make historic ales as the Williams Brothers do; their selection includes four other beers which are well worth investigating. The beer has a pale amber colour with a light head. There is a touch of malt on the palate followed by an attractive herbaceous floral flavour. The subtle sweetness of the heather and . . . → Read More: Fraoch Heather Ale (Williams Bros. Brewing)

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Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Mediocre)

This tastes more like a lager than an ale, and so misses out on some naturally fruity flavours. The peach flavour never really hits you and remains subtle. This might have been fine if it was a bit more full-bodied, but it tastes a bit on the thin side. Having said that, on a boiling hot day, this beer,well chilled may just hit the spot for some who want a lightly flavoured beer with a hint of fruit.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 8°C

Hide Sites . . . → Read More: Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale

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