I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It had a best before date of 1/27/14 and cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Murky, brown hue (almost deep purple). No visible
carbonation. Pours to a small, white, creamy head which mostly
dissipates and leaves minor lacing on the glass.
Smell: Light notes of molasses and dark malt. None of the usual pumpkin ale spices.
Taste: I tend to like pumpkin beers, and the ones I don’t like are
usually due to their use of an odd spice palette. While Tommyknocker
Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale doesn’t have the flavor combinations I
prefer in a beer of the style, the reason I’m scoring it so poorly is
because it’s so overtly bland. For a beer made with what should be
flavorful ingredients, it manages to be quite dull.
The first thing I noticed about this beer was how much it reminded me of
a British pub-style brew. The body was overtly light, with a slightly
creamy taste, but at the same time still quite mild. The brewery’s
website describes it as a brown ale base brew, but it seems to be
lacking the sweet maltiness of that style. In fact, it’s difficult to
pick out the flavors actually present here. Some molasses, yes, but
without any of the sweetness. A hint of nutmeg as well, but no pie or
rustic potpourri-like character, either. Slight bitterness on the back
end, but it’s kind of pointless. More of a boring beer than a bad one,
but definitely not a good one.
Drinkability: While I wouldn’t quite consider Tommyknocker Small Patch
Pumpkin Harvest Ale to be repulsive-tasting, I have to admit I enjoyed
the drinking process. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft which makes it
comfortable and easy to drink. It’s also rather watery, which is a bit
annoying. Though rather light at 5% ABV, it’s still disappointing the
flavor levels are so low which prevents it from being truly sessionable.