3.9AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Remember when you were a kid and you were convinced you wouldn’t like a food without actually eating it? I’m still like that way when it comes to some things as an adult, namely – organic beers. I decided to make Wolaver’s Will Stevens’ Pumpkin Ale my introductory organic beer since I’m a huge fan of pumpkin beers. I’m glad I did because this is exactly what I look for in a pumpkin beer: a fairly complex palate with genuine spice and smooth drinkability that satisfies. What was I so afraid of?
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
This beer may be organic but I can tell it’s filtered since it pours to a shade bright orange or copper and is crystal-clear. Plenty of carbonation is noticeable, although it dies down fairly quickly. Its head is rather small, off-white and foamy and dissolves a little quicker than I prefer.
The aroma is very inviting, though, with nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin scents quite prominent. I don’t get any kind of grainy or boozy aroma, either, which is good.
I guess I was expecting an organic pumpkin beer to taste like an organic pumpkin pie (which tastes very vegetable-like since it’s not the canned stuff with sugar added). Thankfully that was not the case of Wolvar’s Pumpkin Ale. In fact, if the brewery kept it a secret that their beers are organic I never would have tasted a difference.
The flavor here is just what you want in a pumpkin beer: very distinct flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and pumpkin and all well-balanced so none overshadow any of the others. Taken together they add up for a tasty liquid potpourri with a slightly bitter ending. It’s fairly rich but at the same time it doesn’t dance on your palate. But where other pumpkin beers tend to fail, Will Stevens’ brew succeeds since its thick palate doesn’t wash itself away.
In retrospect I probably would’ve enjoyed an even more intense palate, but what’s here is very satisfying.
The irony of “spicy” beers is that their palate is often so complex and intense they’re difficult to drink. Wolaver’s is able to have it both ways. The mouthfeel is rather heavy with a seemingly creamy texture. The spices don’t overwhelm so as to give the beer a gentle, soft mouthfeel. It finishes extremely smooth and leaves a pleasing aftertaste.
I’m not entirely sure of the ABV of this beer, but would guess it to be under 5% ABV (the bottle doesn’t say, neither does the brewer’s website). Considering the taste and drinkability I think it would work extremely well as a session beer.
I think Wolaver’s Will Stevens’ Pumpkin Ale is one of the most versatile pumpkin and fall seasonals on the market today. It’s extremely drinker-friendly in terms of taste and finish and having the organic certification makes it something of a politically-correct or “green” beer. I could honestly see Joe Six Packs substituting this for their Sunday afternoon football “light” brew (although I’m not sure it can compete price-wise).