While I was picking up pumpkin beers at the liquor store, this one stood out because of the 9% ABV. I thought I’d give it a shot after reading the label… “Smashed Pumpkin is a big bodied beer with a light coppery orange color and pleasing aroma of pumpkin and nutmeg. The OG and final ABV provide the structure and body. Pale ale, wheat and Munich malts combined with the natural tannin in pumpkin and the delicate spiciness of Willamette and Hallertau Hops to balance the sweetness of the fruit. To fully enjoy all the flavors, this ale is best drunk at 55°F. Smashed pumpkin pairs well with sharp cheeses, nuts, lamb, hearty stews and desserts like flan or pumpkin pie. Chefs find this an excellent beer to cook with in dishes such as braised short ribs. Try adding a little Shipyard Blue Fin Stout to Smashed Pumpkin for a fall warmer. 1.088 OG, 9.0% ABV.”
The beer was clear and orange/copper in color with a nice thick creamy and incredible head good retention. The smell was interesting and reminded me of fresh, just-crushed, dry, malted barley.
The body was solidly full and it had creamy mouthfeel with the help of the head. It had a light, spicy flavor up front with a bigger caramel-like malty flavor and a mix of spices in the finish and aftertaste. It didn’t have a pumpkin, or even pumpkin pie spice flavor… It was more caramel malty with a mix of spices I couldn’t really identify.
If I had to pair this with a food, I’d recommend something that could help to cut the body and the 9% ABV. Going with the theme of the season, although the pumpkin flavor wasn’t all there, I would still recommend a turkey sandwich with this beer – with a big bun to soak up the high alcohol content.
While it had a good caramel flavor and a complex spice flavor, there wasn’t much of a pumpkin-like flavor to it. You could even re-label this as a spiced winter warmer for the holidays and it would fit. Despite not really tasting like a pumpkin beer, it was still a pretty good beer with a complex malty/spice flavor.