I have been an absolute slacker lately with writing content for this blog. It’s not that I haven’t been out and about lately, I’ve just been lacking the extra time and motivation to write. That said, I attended The Institute’s 2nd annual Pumpkin Beer Event on Saturday, and when friends noticed me taking notes on the day’s brews, it was suggested that I throw my findings up as a blog post. Genius! Rest assured, I did not drink full servings of all the beers listed below, but I did sample each and every one. As the day grew longer, I think my taste buds became a bit wary. The last few descriptions in particular are questionable at best and should be taken with a grain of salt. However, if you’re a pumpkin beer novice just looking for some pointers, this will hopefully prove helpful as you wander down the seasonals aisle of your local distributor. Cheers!
Southern Tier Pumking – 9% ABV: This was my first beer of the day, and probably one of my favorites. It was smooth, not overly pumpkiny and very strong.
Brooklyn Post Road – 5% ABV: To me, this beer smelled like butterscotch, which turned me off immediately for some reason. I was not into it, and I don’t think it is a good representation of what a pumpkin beer should be.
Dock Street Great Pumpkin – 5.9% ABV: Pumpkin what? Pumpkin who? I wasn’t picking up much, if any, pumpkin flavor out of this brew. Perhaps it would be a good one to try for those who aren’t sure if they like pumpkin beer.
Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale – 5.35% ABV: This one had more flavor than Dock Street’s version, but was still a little bland. Again, it would be a good option for a beginner.
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin – 8% ABV: Clearly, I like the stronger beers. This one had nice, balanced spice, and it reminded me of Christmas.
Southampton Pumpkin Ale – 6% ABV: My notes under this one read, “Just say no!” This beer tasted so off to me, I sent it back. I was told by a few others that the beer is usually all right, so maybe this particular keg was off or something. Maybe I just don’t like this beer. Either way, I’ll taste it again if someone else is ordering, but now I’m skeptical.
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin – 5.9% ABV: This was a standard pumpkin beer. I found it very drinkable.
River Horse Hip-O-Lantern – 9% ABV: Another strong one, this reminded me of a pumpkin-scented sister to some of my favorite barleywines. Think Old Horizontal with a fall twist.
New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale – 4.8% ABV: Spicy. Not my favorite.
SixPoint Pumpkin Brewster – 5.5% ABV: This brew had a mild pumpkin flavor and a lager taste. I wrote, “If Yuengling came out with a pumpkin beer.” Which I’m sure is exactly what the folks at SixPoint were going for… Cute name, nonetheless.
Rock Art Imperial Spruce Pumpkin Stout – 8% ABV: Traditional stout; no discerning pumpkin characteristics. I am NOT a stout girl, but if you dig them, you may be into this one.
Brew Works Devious Imperial Pumpkin – 9% ABV: I recall nothing about this beer but my notes say, “Very good. Very strong. Me Jane.” (Just kidding about that last part.)
Arcadia Jaw Jacker – ABV 6%: Apparently, at this point I didn’t even trust my own instincts, because my notes say, “The masses said it didn’t taste like pumpkin… [to me] it tasted like nice spices, maybe not pumpkin.” Whatever that means.
Final note: I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on The Institute’s role in this very fun event. As always, the bartenders were helpful, sweet and patient. I didn’t get to taste any of the pumpkin-themed food specials, but I do know from experience that the pumpkin mac and cheese, a regular on the menu any time of year, is some of the best mac around.
You know it.
549 N. 12th St. (12th & Green)
Philadelphia, PA 19123