P49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

P49_schadenfreudeBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style:  Pumpkin/Marzen Lager
Alc/Vol: 5%

Description: Parallel 49’s seasonal beer, this Pumpkin Oktoberfest melds together a Pumpkin-style beer with an Marzen lager that is spiced with a combination of allspice and vanilla. Much like the name, it is a mashup, but one that brings together the best of two seasonal worlds to achieve a balance of flavor.

Tasting Notes: This beer came highly recommended, and from a fellow beer snob, no less (hi Mike!). And this year, I was lucky enough to find myself some before it went out of stock. As pumpkin ales go, this one was both interesting and quite appealing. As per usual, the P49 folks have committed to a hybrid that marries two separate but not unrelated styles. In addition to the rich, viscous malts of a Marzen, it employs the spice palette and infusion of flavor that comes from being a Pumpkin, and manages to finishes very clean and refreshing. I was especially impressed with this; whereas many pumpkin ales seem to land too heavy or too light (in my experience), this one lands right where it needs to!

Appearance: Golden orange, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, pumpkin flesh, hint of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, notes of vanilla, allspice, pumpkin pie
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, pumpkin and spice notes, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Cannery Brewery Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale

Hello again and welcome back to the Fall Beer series! And in keeping with my ongoing efforts to give as many pumpkin ales their due, I have procured a bottle of Cannery Brewery’s Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale. As some might suspect, the name is a reference to the type of pumpkins used, but also makes for a delicious pun on the whole “pumpkin head” thing.

And I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised with this version of the fall beer classic. Whereas most breweries tend to make their beers along the same general lines, spicing them with cloves, cinnamon and/or nutmeg and allspice, Cannery seems to have taken the purist route. The label says Pumpkin Ale, and that appears to be what you get. Yes, the label also says they use spice in the mix, but that does not appear to be the case once you taste it. While they may have chosen to add some of the aforementioned spices to

Appearance: Dark ruby-brown, transparent, light foam
Nose: Very mild notes of pumpkin flesh and malts
Taste: Light, refreshing, slight notes of pumpkin, no discernible spice
Aftertaste: Lingering taste of pumpkin flesh, tangy malts
Overall: 7/10

Yes, this beer was a bit of a stumper for me. On the one hand, it was quite light and odd tasting for a pumpkin ale, a variety of beer which usually packs a good dose of rich, spicey flavor, reminiscent of pumpkin pie. However, at the same time, I can see both the honesty and the balls in them doing a beer in this way. While everyone else is doing a pumpkin pie ale that tastes predominantly of cloves and allspice, they are doing a straight pumpkin one that offers nothing but what the name suggests. Admittedly, not my favorite of the variety, but a good and honest beer nonetheless.