Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 23, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 29, 2012 It’s funny how the same beer can taste differently depending on the circumstances in which it is drunk. When I first tried Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale it was a few bottles at a family BBQ and I wasn’t paying much attention to the taste and wasn’t very impressed at the time, either.

Enjoying it at home in a pint glass while concentrating on the taste really brought me around on this beer. However, the question will forever be: do I now enjoy it because I’ve developed a taste for it; or is it a genuinely good beer? I think both instances are true, since some of the best beers in the world are considered “acquired tastes.”

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

A clear beer with a beautiful color is always appealing to me and such is the case of Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. This is a copper/reddish beer that is absolutely crystal-clear and forms a small creamy head which doesn’t linger long and doesn’t leave much lacing on the glass. Some carbonation action is present upon initial pour, but eventually the glass becomes almost completely tepid.

Considering the name you’d expect an aroma of pumpkin, right? I wouldn’t go as far as saying this beer smells like pumpkin, but there definitely is a very autumn spicy scent of nutmeg and clove. At least there is no generic “beer” odor.

TASTE

Here’s the dilemma of drinking Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale: yes it does have a pumpkin/autumn flavor but only if you’re specifically looking for it. If you drink the beer straight from the bottle you’re going to get a fairly generic ale taste – there is no distinct bite of hops, nor is there any gimmicky flavoring present.

After taking the time to sit down and really savor the beer I noticed a completely different palate. The presence of pumpkin, and the spices of nutmeg and possibly cinnamon, were definitely noticeable. Clove is also a major addition to the flavor complexity. I can’t help but wonder how natural or artificial these flavors are, though. After all, as I write this it’s August and pumpkins are generally harvested in October. Since this beer is made by Coors, I wouldn’t be surprised if the flavor is mostly synthetic, but since it’s a pretty tasty beer it’s forgivable.

FINISH

Spicy ales are usually the harshest beers other than certain cheap mass-market brews that are mostly water, alcohol and adjunct ingredients. Such beers tend to be enjoyed with meals and in moderation, but Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is surprisingly smooth for a beer with this much spice. You might enjoy a few bottles of this at a Halloween party, but it’s not on par with ridiculously easy-to-drink summer beers.

BODY

Complex ales are by no means light. At 185 calories Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is a heavier beer than Guinness, technically. Considering its potent flavor and ingredients, it would actually be surprising if it were any lighter than it is. In fact, I don’t think Coors would have been wrong in watering it down just a tad to make it easier to drink. As it is, this is a fairly smooth beer for a niche, seasonal brew, but it’s likely too heavy for Joe Six Pack.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ve noticed Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale has received mixed reviews, which leads me to believe it’s a perfect example of an acquired taste. The problem is the unfamiliar drinker doesn’t have much motivation to buy a beer they most develop a taste for. However, after taking the time to savor this brew I can say it was well worth my effort. 
Grade: 7/10