Pumpkin Beer Review: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

I went to Beltway Liquors in Loch Raven this past weekend. I was looking for two things:

  1. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale (I had it during a post-10k brunch at Hank’s Oyster Bar in DC and it was goooooooood);
  2. and more pumpkin beer!

I left with none of these things. Why? Because evidently, pumpkin-beer-drinking season is OVER. Oops. The world of beer is a confusing thing.

What does this tell me? I better post my reviews for the last two pumpkin beers I tried so I can move on to… winter beers! Sports Glutton, I’m looking at you for recommendations on which I should try. And, um, also… to define a winter beer (as opposed to a harvest, holiday, or other seasonal).

So, moving on… Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. Many told me they thought this would be my favorite beer. I had high hopes. I left it for my second-to-last beer to really build the suspense. It worked.

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

(P.S. How awesome does my spaghetti squash look in the background? I just roasted it and was about to smother it in semi-homemade tomato sauce.)

From the website:

Our Pumpkin Ale has a bold, big pumpkin taste, flavored with Pumpkin squash, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. It has a mild character, with little bitterness and a malty backbone, allowing the flavor of the Pumpkin squash and spices to take the lead.

While pumpkin beers were produced in the early days of the American colonies, they were different from the pumpkin beers we know today.  Colonists used pumpkin and squash as the fermenting medium, since malted barley was scarce.  Once malt became more readily available, it replaced these alternatives to grain.  In the 1990’s, American craft brewers reintroduced the style to the delight of pumpkin beer drinkers.

Those people were right. This beer was perfection. I loved Smuttynose, but since I give extra points for graphic design, I’m going to declare Schlafly the winner. The notes I took said:
  • Perfect! I’ve found the best pumpkin beer.
  • Smells right on… just like pumpkin pie. I’d bottle just the aroma and use it as an air freshener, it was that pleasant.
  • It was still malty and nutty, which only complimented the pumpkin – it didn’t compete.
  • Tastes like fall. It’s everything I wanted it to taste like.
Pretty high marks from me. And pretty high marks from others, it seems. Huzzah for this delicious beer!
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