It’s Monday night, and the trash is out, the kids are in bed, and it’s time to sit down and enjoy a beer while I watch some TV. Since it’s that time of year, I found this pumpkin beer out of the grocery store and thought I’d give it a try, since you know I enjoy the occasional pumpkin beer. I think New Belgium makes some pretty good stuff, and this one has pumpkin as well as some cranberry in it, which I thought made it pretty unique.
The bottle says, “What’s that bite of tartness doing in a pumpkin beer? Adding the unexpected kick of cranberry juice to brighten this traditionally spiced seasonal ale. Pumpkick is brewed with plenty of pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but it’s the cranberries and touch of lemongrass that send your taste buds sailing.”
Location: Poured into a curved pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 6% ABV, ~170 Calories
Ingredients: Malts: Pale, Munich, Caramel; Hops: Target; Fruits/Spice: Pumpkin juice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cranberries, Lemongrass
Appearance & Aroma: It’s orange in color, and fairly hazy, with a decent amount of sediment in it. It had a good amount of carbonation in it and a finger thick, bright white foamy head, that fell to just a thin creamy layer of bubbles across the top after a minute or so. It left a good amount of lacing on the glass though. The aroma is a mix of cinnamon, cranberry and light lemongrass.
Taste & Feel: The body is light and the mouthfeel is pretty crisp. There’s a light bready-honey flavor up front, followed by a lemongrass and clean cranberry taste in middle. The clean, crisp, dry finish is a mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, and cranberry. The cinnamon and cranberry last for a little bit in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This beer has light, crisp flavors, and therefore, I’d go with a lighter food for this beer. There are few beers I’d pair with a salad, but this is definitely one of them. The crisp, clean flavors and spices would mix nicely with the light, crisp feeling of a salad.
Overall Impression: This beer was very light and crisp, and didn’t feel very warm and fall-like to me. It felt a bit more like a light fruit beer with some spices instead of a true pumpkin beer. It probably has more commercial appeal with the light, crisp, drinkability it has, but I prefer pumpkin beers to be warm and hearty like a slice of pumpkin pie. Overall, it was more of a spiced beer than a pumpkin beer, and I won’t be looking for this one next year during the holidays.