Tag Archives: pumpkin ale

Common Ales: Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale

The things I do for you people.

So, let me just get this out of the way: this review is one where I didn’t ask anyone what their best selling ale was or do any research about the best selling pumpkin ale or anything like that at all. I just saw my Facebook feed blow up for about two weeks on the subject of “pumpkin spice (somethings)”. Regardless of how I, personally, feel about the subject, people drink pumpkin ales and those ales are made by craft breweries.

And that means that this falls smack dab into what I’m doing, right? Right. So, I found a torpedo of a pumpkin ale (because 6 pack = Very No) from a brewery that often does good work and went from there.

The nose has a strong nutmeg presence and there is a little bit of cinnamon too. I like this at first. As I get further into the beer, the cinnamon gets stronger and clove becomes quite present. Again; initially, I like this.

Here’s why: the first sips of the beer belie a custard-esque finish. This is mostly a mouthfeel thing, a kind of thickness to the beer but it helps give the ale some robustness. It doesn’t last long, though. By the fifth sip, the spicy qualities have cut through everything that might provide this beer with some sweeter counter.

It’s…not vile. Something in the finish about that spiciness doesn’t work as a liquid for me. If this was pie, there would be the crust and perhaps whip cream to make it all balance out. Without that, the spices push everything else out of the beer. It’s like I’m drinking a liquid spice.

Now: maybe that sounds good to you! Awesome. Get this beer. It’s not working for me.

52 Weeks 47: Elysian Pumpkin Ale

That’s right, pumpkin ale. 

I suppose it ought to be said right now; I think pumpkin beers are not for serious beer drinkers. Or even not-serious beer drinkers. 

Pumpkin ales are for people who think of beer as a novelty, a plaything that they can get their friends to try; check out this beer made from X! Where X equals some weird plant, like garlic or zucchini. It just so happens that pumpkins are associated with a very tasty food and we happen to have a fuckton of them around during this time of year, so why not do something with them, right? 

So for you dear readers, I have decided to have a pumpkin ale. 

The nose is quite strong and puts me into the Wayback Machine for sure. Nutmeg scents remind me of my mother’s kitchen; its olive green stove right next to the fridge in a classic design scheme, lights dimmed while everyone else is in the living room or dining room, entertaining while I wait for pie to finish. 

And the taste?

Well…I won’t lie to you, it’s quite a bit like liquid pumpkin pie. There aren’t hops or malts to speak of here; it’s all dessert spices and enough sweetness to keep the whole thing together. I’m almost surprised the beer isn’t served in a glass made of flaky crust. It’s remarkably velvety too, like well beaten whipped cream. 

I hate to say it, but it’s a decent beer to have a glass of and it evokes pumpkin pie in some remarkable ways. That said; I’m glad it’s only around once a year. I cannot imagine drinking this stuff on a regular basis. 

273 words. Is there more to say a this point? I feel like there ought to be but perhaps this is not the night for it? It’s windy in Portland, a mild summer giving way quickly to an autumn that is bluster and chilly. The inclination is to grouse; the football games sucked yesterday, I’m going mildly broke and there’s a coil of tension in my chest somewhere behind my heart, that keeps reminding me that somewhere I have chosen poorly all of which wants to be said somewhere. 

But not here, eh? Because I didn’t choose poorly; the beer was good, I’ve got my hat and the night. No complaints.