Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brown's Pumpkin Ale (2012 re-review)

The more I drink pumpkin beers the more I realize the "pumpkin potpourri" style seems to be more popular. Where are the delicious "pumpkin pie" beers? Thankfully we have one being brewed right here in the Capital District at Brown’s Brewing in Troy. Though not quite as big and bold as Southern Tier’s Pumking (the standard by which all other pumpkin beers are measured, in my opinion), it’s in the ballpark. Sweet, spicy, easily drinkable and plenty of body.

NOTE: watch my 2009 video review of this beer here:

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (739) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 9, 2012
I received a 16oz tap pour in an official Brown’s shaker glass at the brewpub.

Appearance: Dark copper/orange hue, but clear. Forms a small, off-white, foamy head which doesn’t leave much lacing.

Smell: Very strong in the nose - I could actually smell it before the waitress set it down in front of me. Big pumpkin pie scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

Taste: It’s been years since I last tasted this beer and I’m kicking myself now for the lapse. Though no Pumking, Brown’s Pumpkin Ale is far better than your average pumpkin beer. This brew opts for sweetness and pie crust flavor rather than the spice bomb of so many other pumpkin beers. Up front there’s a delicate but discernible taste of cinnamon and nutmeg, this then transitions to a richer, sweeter, vanilla flavor - almost that of oak chips or other wood-aging flavors. The finish reverts back to the sweet spices but with an even more robust palate, and imparts a genuine graham cracker crust taste. The vanilla/wood flavors really set this beer apart and the lack of the rustic earthy spices is a nice change of pace. I haven’t had a pumpkin beer that impressed me this much in a long time.

Drinkability: Though not a thick or sticky beer, Brown’s Pumpkin Ale is somewhere in the void between medium and full bodied. Definite energy in the mouth with fine carbonation and a comfortable texture and smooth finish. Not a refreshing beer per se, but something that is easily drinkable and quite versatile. The 7% ABV is spot-on as this has more chutzpah than most of Brown’s brews, but is nothing obese or weighty.
 Grade: 9/10

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