Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Don't Try This At Home

In an effort to understand how strangely excited people get for pumpkin beer season, Nolan (Beer Buyer, Dowenast Beverage) and I embark on an epic quest to taste several of the offerings on the market.
Showing up hungover to taste things that may be disgusting is not reccomended, but we are alcohol professionals.
We decide to start with the least promising of the bunch:

1. Shipyard Brewing Pumpkinhead - Portland, Maine
Me: This tastes like Shipyard Export that someone vomited pumpkin pie into. Quite possibly one of the worst things I've ever tasted. The level of excitement people have for this now officially makes me angry.

Nolan: It's like a Schlitz got raped with spices. It's awful. I guess we should have a dump bucket, huh?

2. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale - Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Me: Tastes like a decent beer with pleasant pumpkin and spice notes. I think I like it. There may be hope for this tasting...

Nolan: You can tell by the orange color that they used real pumpkin. It actually has a good amount of hops and a nice bitterness.

3. Fisherman's Brewery Pumpkin Stout - Gloucester, Massachusets

Me: Very strong espresso flavor with very subtle pumpkin notes. I don't hate it or love it.

Nolan: I like it, but the spices may have been drowned out by the 2 initial beers we tasted. It's got a really nice dryness.

4. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - Milton, Delaware

Me: I love the way the fruitiness compliments the pumpkin and spice. I think this is my favorite so far.

Nolan: Very aromatic. It has the body to gracefully carry the spices, and a high alcohol content.

5. Shipyard Brewery Smashed Pumpkin - Portland, Maine

Me: Overpowered by cinnamon and alcohol, this beer is way out of balance. I also think it's making my stomach turn..

Nolan: Sorry Mr. Pugsley, too much corn syrup and too much alcohol make a bad base.

6. Clipper City Brewing Heavy Seas "The Great Pumpkin" - Baltimore, Maryland

Me: I like it, but I couldn't drink more than one. It's surprisingly good, being the sweetest of the bunch.

Nolan: Sweet and malty with heavy spices. Decent, but I'm still not ready to join the Mutiny.

Overall Rankings:

1. Dogfish
2. Heavy Seas
3. Smuttynose
4. Fisherman's
5. Smashed Pumpkin
6. Pumpkinhead

1. Smuttynose
2. Dogfish
3. Heavy Seas
4. Fisherman's
5. Smashed Pumpkin
6. Pumpkinhead


  1. Doing lines of coke might mess up your ability to properly taste shitty beer, do you agree?

  2. No more than jerking off, playing with action figures, shooting guns, or using herbal essences products would.

  3. All those things are completely healthy and would not affect the taste of food...for the most part.

  4. Who's the guy missing his lower half?

  5. "It's like a Schlitz got raped with spices" ha ha good one. That beer does suck balls.

  6. Is is Darth Maul? I love that movie. And this mid-Atlantic girl is happy to see Clipper City and Dogfish Head reviewed favorably! (BTW, in Bmore there's a boat called the Clipper City, which we dubbed either Clipper Shitty or Slipper Clitty, take your pick).

  7. For those I've tried, I'm in complete agreement. Indigen and itinerants alike, it angers me that Pumpkinhead's so popular.

    Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin resides at the top of my list along with DFH Punkin.

  8. Yeah, by the time I decided to do this project, there was no more Weyerbacher around to be had. I will say that I had tried it once when we first brought it in and remember enjoying it.

  9. Thanks for these reviews. My first Pumpkin brew was Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale, and I swore off the idea of a pumpkin spiced beer after tasting it.

    You got me to try Dogfish Punkin Ale, and I must say it's WORLDS better than the Shipyard offering. THANKS!