Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

elysian_pumpkinBrewer: Elysian Brewing, Seattle, WA
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: 18

Description: Elysian’s Fall Seasonal Pumpkin Ale is brewed using Pale, Munich, Crystal malts, which are then lightly bittered with Magnum hops. Roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are then added to the mash, while pumpkin flesh is added in the mash, in the kettle, and during fermentation.

Tasting Notes: This is a good take on the Pumpkin Ale. The nose is indistinguishable from pumpkin pie, and the flavor is not far behind. There’s plenty of pumpkin flesh to complement the smooth malt and just sweet enough malt flavor, and the spice comes through nicely without being overpowering.

Appearance: Amber-orange, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Pumpkin pie nose! Allspice, smooth malts, cinnamon and nutmeg
Taste: Smooth malt, pumpkin pie, mineral tang, mild sweetness, ginger, allspice
Aftertaste: Lingering spice flavor, sweet and smooth malt, minerals
Overall: 8/10

Swan’s Pumpkin Ale 2016

swans_pumpkinBrewer:Swan’s Brewpub, Victoria, BC
Style:
Pumpkin Ale
ABV:
6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Swan’s seasonal ale is back, and this year’s Pumpkin ale is fashioned in the usual way. Pale malts are combined with a mild hopping, then spiced with nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon. And of course, there’s the fresh baked pumpkin to finish the mix.

Tasting Notes: A nice, balanced pumpkin ale that has a smooth start, some powerful (but not overpowering) spice notes, and a lingering, spicy finish. I remember this one from year’s back and it’s still a nice way to ring in the Fall season.

Appearance: Deep amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, rich notes of allspice, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie
Taste: Smooth, crisp malt, ginger zest, cinnamon snap, allspice, pumpkin flesh
Aftertaste: Lingering pumpkin and spice flavor, mild ginger bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Central City Patrick O’ Pumpkin Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale

CentralCity_pumpkinBrewer: Central City Brewing,
Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 27

Description: A seasonal release, and part of their series of character-based releases, this Imperial Pumpkin Ale is brewed using using a hefty dose of pale malt, then infused with spices, pumpkin flesh, and aged in bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes: You might say this beer is Central City’s regular pumpkin ale on steroids (or some other performance-enhancing drug!) The malts are heavy, the pumpkin flavor intense, and the alcoholic bite noticeable, Unfortunately, this kind of subdues the spice palate and the bourbon flavor. Still, a lovely and powerful Autumn brew.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, pumpkin flesh, notes of allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
Taste: Rich malt base, pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mild whiskey, alcohol
Aftertaste: Lingering whiskey, alcohol and spice bitterness
Overall: 7.8/10

Russell 2014 Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale

Russel_Happy_JackBrewer: Russell Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 25

Description: This seasonal release is available only for the Fall pumpkin season. It is brewed single-batch-style, using pale malts, real pumpkin, and then infused with whole spices (what I strongly suspect are cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) and aged with oak.

Tasting Notes: Compared to my previous samplings of Happy Jack, this one was stronger on the spice palate. These work well alongside the smooth and slightly sweet malt base, which of course benefits from the infusion of pumpkin. So I actually found myself enjoying it more than last year’s offering. Hence I am upgrading it from last years 8.5 to a solid 9. Kudos to the brewers!

Appearance: Dark Ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Pale malt nose, pumpkin flesh, strong notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, notes of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness, spices and spice bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Nelson Organic Pumpkin Ale

Nelson_pumpkinaleBrewer: Nelson Brewing, Nelson, BC
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5%

Description: This fall seasonal comes to us from Nelson Brewing, located in BC’s interior. The brew combines pale malts with a dose of pumpkin and the usual spice palette – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. And true to Nelson’s tradition, all the ingredients are organic.

Tasting Notes: As pumpkin ales, this one has all the usual things going for it – pale malt, pumpkin flavor, and a spice palette that gives it that pumpkin-pie flavor. But unlike many other pumpkins I’ve had of late, this one was quite subtle and smooth by comparison. The malt and spice notes are all very well balanced and play well together.

Appearance: Ruby/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Subtle malt nose, notes of ginger and pumpkin pie spices
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves
Aftertaste: :Lingering malt, pumpkin flavor and spices
Overall: 8/10

Canuck Empire Pumpkin Patch Ale

canuckempire_pumpkinBrewer: Canuck Empire, Aldergrove, BC
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 6%

Description: A seasonal Fall brew, this pumpkin ale is made using a combination of 2-Row, Munich, Aromatic, Caramel, & Wheat malts, then hopped with Magnum and Perle hops. The beer is then flavored with pumpkin and maple syrup, and spiced with a combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Tasting Notes: This is my first time sampling a beer from Canuck Empire, another brewery from the lower mainland that I’ve been noticing around these parts. And for the most part, this beer was exactly what I would expect from a good pumpkin ale. Smooth, pale malt interacts with pumpkin flesh and a pumpkin pie palette to deliver “Fall in a glass”. However, this one was a bit different in that it incorporated ginger, which I initially mistook for clove spice. This added a bit of a bite and a slight bitterness to the mix, which worked well in the end. Still a good brew and a good intro!

Appearance: Amber/orange, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, pumpkin pie, notes of allspice and cinnamon
Taste: Smooth malt, pumpkin, burst of ginger spice, allspice and cinnamon
Aftertaste: Lingering ginger and spice flavor, mild malt bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Russel Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale

russell_happy-jack-pumpkin-aleBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey BC
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.5%

Description: This is Russel Brewing’s latest seasonal release and is available just in time for the Fall Season and all its pumpkin-related occasions. Brewed from a combination of what I can only assume is Brown Ale malt, pumpkin, allspice, and aged in oak, the end result is a ale that is light and refreshing, but noticeably spiced and varied in taste.

Tasting Notes: As pumpkin ales go, this one was noticeably subtler than the ones I am used to. At first, it seemed on the mild side, but was also quite refreshing. However, the spice flavors and oaky undertones came through in time, as did the lovely taste of pumpkin pie. In short, the subtlety works in its favor and its full body comes through slowly but surely. Definitely one of the better seasonal pumpkin’s I have had of late!

Appearance: Dark brown/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, pumpkin pie, notes of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg spice
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of pumpkin flesh, notes of allspice, oaky finish
Aftertaste: Lingering spice palette, oak, pumpkin and roasted malt flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

First Fall Beer Review!

phillips_labelsphillips_crookedertoothFall is just around the corner, and it seems the Fall beer is already hitting the shelves. And what better way to start my review of this Autumn’s beer than Phillips latest seasonal/limited release Crookeder Tooth Pumpkin Ale. Building on their success with Crooked Tooth, and in what appears to still be a trend in craft brewing with these folks, Phillips latest incarnation of this pumpkin ale is a barrel aged, stronger variant with some added kick! This comes not only in form of added alcohol (7.3% alc/vol), but in an infusion of bourbon made possible by the barrel-aging process.

And much like their Twisted Oak Red Ale, I highly approve of the end result. Rather than adding a whiskey tang and bite to the mix that did not do it justice, the bourbon flavor adds a very nice, velvety texture and vanilla-like flavor. This is highly complimentary to the beer’s heavier malt, spice palate and pumpkin flavor. All in all, its very much like having a piece of well-spice pumpkin pie. Score one more for barrel-aging done right!


Appearance:
Golden orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Discernible pumpkin flesh, light traces of cinnamon and nutmeg
Taste: Sweet malt, immediate notes of allspice, vanilla, mild bite of bourbon whiskey
Aftertaste: Lingering bourbon flavor and spices, slight alcoholic bitterness
Overall: 9/10

I can recall enjoying this beer’s predecessor when I tried it. And I can honestly say that I enjoyed this one more. In addition to being pleasing without being overpowering, as the last one was, they also managed some dimensions of flavor and strength. It’s a rare thing when an upgraded model can retain the benefits of the old one while adding new ones. Kudos to Phillips, and welcome to the Fall of Beer!

Deschute Fresh Squeezed IPA

deschutes-fresh-squeezedAs the summer comes to an end, it seems fitting to get in as many seasonal beers as I can before they cease to be available. Might as well since I’m sure to have my hands full with Marzens, Browns, Pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers. So I decided to start my evening with an IPA that once again comes from south of the 49th – Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. I’ve seen it around my local beer store for many weeks now, and thanks to the endorsement from my friend at I think about beer, I finally decided to give it a try.

Though my range of sampling has been limited with Deschutes, I have come to expect a very high standard from them. My introduction came back in 2004 when I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Oregon and he introduced me to some of the local brews. Mirror Pond Pale Ale, their flagship production, just happens to be one of his favorites. And for me, it has come to be represent what brewing in Bend and Portland is all about, or at least a big part of it.

In any case, I found this version of an India Pale Ale to be quite faithful and very pleasant to drink. Pouring a deep orange color, the beer is clear and has a relatively good head. Citra hops are clear on the nose and come through especially well on the tongue, and the addition of the Mosaic hops add an added dimension of rich tropical flavor.

Appearance: Deep orange-amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good citrus and floral hop aroma, tropical fruits
Taste: Immediate hop burst, citrus and pineapple, mango and passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering tropical, mild sugars and sweet malt
Overall: 8.5/10

All in all, its quite the delicious beer, consistently hoppy, but not overwhelmingly so. Not a bad intro to the Deschutes Seasonal lineup, or their Bond Street Series. No doubt, I am going to take this as an invitation to start cruising their other products. But when did I ever NOT want to drink more of what a brewery has to offer?

Steamworks Pumpkin Ale

And we’re back with another Pumpkin Ale, which i have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to find. As far as I could tell, I still hadn’t scratched the surface on all the pumpkin beer that I already knew about. But apparently, there are some I never knew of. Case in point, Steamworks Pumpkin Ale, fresh from the brewery located in scenic Gastown in Downtown Vancouver.

Unlike most I’ve tried at this point, Steamwork’s has produced an ale that is brown in variety, as opposed to a Pale Ale which is far more common. In terms of color, the malts, and the toasty, tawny flavor, this beer is the perfect merger of a dark ale with pumpkin spice and zest. A true, all around fall ale, and perfect for my ongoing seasonal review series!

Appearance: Dark brownish-red, transparent, and low foam
Nose: Mixed array of spices, clove and nutmeg the most apparent, pumpkin malts
Taste: Immediate burst of cloves and spice, giving way to tawny malts reminiscent of brown ale
Aftertaste: Lingering taste of spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, mild bitterness
Overall: 9.5/10

And on a coincidental note, I will be in Vancouver this weekend for a football game. Go Lions! And I hope to get into the Steamworks for a little sampling, eats, and hopefully a nice chat with the brewery staff. They do good work, and I intend to tell them so!