October 31, 2014

Leinenkugel's Harvest Patch Shandy

Leinenkugel's Harvest Patch Shandy (2014)
Brewed and Canned by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. in Chippewa Falls, WI. USA.
Seasonal (Fall).
12 fl. oz. (x4) / $5.00 USD / 4.2% ABV

About: "Bring out the best of the season with our Leinenkugel’s Harvest Patch Shandy. It’s a traditional wheat beer that we blend with notes of nutmeg, allspice and clove for a flavor that reminds us of homemade pumpkin pie and pairs perfectly with fall. It’s the perfect pumpkin shandy to pick this season. For an added touch of fall flavor, try pairing it with spicy beef chili or caramel flan."

Thoughts: I purchased the Fall Shandy Sampler 12-pack with 4 cans of 3 different shandy style beers from Leinenkugel. One was an Old Fashioned, one a Cranberry Ginger and the last (which is why I bought it in the first place) is the Harvest Patch. Being a pumpkin beer fiend, there was no way around this, and hell, I like myself a fruity little shandy every now and then! The Old Fashioned was downright horrendous, the Cranberry Ginger was nothing but fruit juice and then there was this:

Harvest Patch poured a light auburn dirty-orange color with a quick dissolving fizzy white head. It's really cloudy, murky and not too pretty but whatever because the smell is amazing. This baby smells like everything you'd want in a pumpkin beer. Tons of nutmeg, the dominating factor here, followed up by allspice, clove and cinnamon sugar. It's got a real nice cinnamon toast crunch thing going for it and who the hell doesn't like that shit right?! Very nice aroma and sweet and inviting, like a custard pumpkin pie. So good.

One of the good things about Shandy beers, despite being not the most "metal" style of beer out there, is that it works so fucking well with pumpkin spice. The mouth feel on this one is bright, tingling and invigorating. It's a bit light, and somewhat fizzy, but it fits. The taste is clean, sweet and flavorful. It's just like liquefied pumpkin pie. All of those spices hit the tongue beautifully and it's so vibrant. There's nothing mild about this one aside from the alcohol, but that's alright alright alright. It's slightly drying, but not much. The wheat base is there, but it's not an overpowering wheat taste either... the spices here blend perfectly and thrive. Mikey (Myers) likes it.

October 26, 2014

Two Roads Roadsmary's Baby

Two Roads Roadsmary's Baby (2014)
Brewed and Bottled by Two Roads Brewing Co in Stratford, CT. USA.
Seasonal Release (Fall).
12 fl. oz (x6) / $12.00 / 6.8% ABV

About: "Roadsmary’s Baby is a traditional pumpkin ale with a Two Roads spin, it's aged in rum barrels for added complexity and depth of flavor. The result is a smooth drinking ale with notes of pumpkin, spices, vanilla, oak and a touch of rum."

Thoughts: This beer smells pretty damn good. Consider me impressed. For being aged in rum barrels with vanilla beans, that portion of it isn't as strong as I would have hoped, but nonetheless it brings out a beautiful characteristic in this one. It's not on par with the sugar-loaded Pumking, but man does this one really smell like freshly baked pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top and a scoop of french vanilla ice cream on the side. It's good stuff man. You can tell while taking long whiffs that there's an underlying bitterness here, but up front it's sweet, spiced and indulgent.

Loaded with clean and complimentary malts to those pumpkin spices, Roadsmary's Baby comes off fresh and fun. Though while a fun beer, it's not horribly exciting. It's got a tingle to it both from carbonation and spices, a real low level remnants of rum in the background, and a nice flow of vanilla that runs through after each gulp. I'm just going to go ahead and say that it's the vanilla beans that really make this one. All the components are of course brought together gloriously here, from the raw slightly sweet pumpkin to the choice of ingredients and then the aging. I do wonder how long this was aged however, since it's not all that strong.

While incredibly smooth and great tasting, this is just a tad uneventful. It's a bit monotonous. I guess that's not really a bad thing considering how nice this beer is, so just consider that a minor complaint. This beer is actually like a version of Rumpkin, you know, if it were a baby. The evil shit that this could turn into if it were amped up with booze. Overall this is a very approachable barrel aged pumpkin beer that even people who aren't fans of barrel aged or pumpkin beers would probably like, but I don't think there are people like that who exist in the world.

Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream Pumpkin Ale

Magic Hat Wilhelm SCREAM Pumpkin Ale (2014)
Limited Release (Fall).
12 fl. oz. (x6) / $8.99 USD / 5.4% ABV

About: "The distant drums of change are thumping, signaling the coming of chilling frosts, falling leaves and ghoulish screams. In a patch ripe with orange glow, Wilhelm Scream awakens and unleashes his season-stirring call for fall. His revelers listen for his echo across the ripened dancing days and prepare their seasonal celebration of harvest and ale. Malts: Pale, Victory, Caramel 80L, Caramel 120L / Hops: Apollo, Nugget / Additives: Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice."

Thoughts: Well this one is a contender for the clearest fucking pumpkin beer I've ever seen. So clear in fact, clearer than most lagers actually, that it makes me wonder just what if any pumpkin was used in the making of this. Probably filtered about ten times before bottling right? It's a deep orange, really nice color actually, with a yellowed head on top that turned to nothin' real quick as carbonation fell flat.

It smells sweet and sugary, so that's a good sign I suppose. It's actually got a nice scent, sweet with a good spice kick to it. Nearly smells like a cold store bought pumpkin pie, which is actually more than you can say about some other pumpkin beers... but alas, this smells a bit synthetic and the sugary tones are kind of weird.

Hmm. Wilhelm Scream isn't horrible tasting by any means... it's sweet but not too sweet, gently spiced, got the slightest bit of bitterness, and overall is pleasant for the first few bottles. The beer itself is too weak to actually enjoy in the long run, since it just become so monotinous and bloating after a while. It tastes good all the way through, but there's just something seemingly fake about it. Though it's somewhat closer to a pumpkin pie-type beer than a raw fleshy pumpkin beer, there's nothing interesting about it after the first bottle. Total hit it and quit it. I needed beer tonight so I bought a six pack just to try, but really I wanted to buy a single and then drink something else. I had a feeling this was going to be a weak offering.

Still, it's not that bad. The residual aftertaste and feeling are a bit "icky", and that's the big problem, but besides that it's smooth, tastes ok, there's nothing off-putting while drinking it and it's even got a decent balance. There's a little bit of a smokiness on the back end of things that kind of brings out some sort of vanilla type note. If this were 8% and had I just huffed a canister of whipped cream while taking a cinnamon challenge I'd probably love it... but the way things are right now, I'm neither pleased nor disappointed. For a synthetic tasting pumpkin ale (whether it is or not), it's utterly non-offensive and enjoyable. Just drink 'em fast.

October 21, 2014

New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale (2014)
Brewed and Bottled by New Holland Brewing in Holland, Michigan, USA.
Seasonal Release / 12 fl. oz. (x6) / $10.99 USD / 5.2% ABV

About: "Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. After dinner, try it with your favorite dessert. Malts: 2 row, crystal / Hops: Cascade / Yeast: American Ale / Pairings: Roasted poultry, root vegetables, peanut sauce and caraway."

Thoughts: Ichabod poured a muddy blood orange color, kinda like an auburn brown. It's cloudy but not grainy, little to no carbonation with a soft white head that diminished quickly, leaving foam clinging to the glass.

Smells like boiled pumpkin for the most part. Not too heavy on the spices. It's probably never going to be mistaken for anything other than a pumpkin ale, but a really sweet smelling one it is not. This is one of those earthy and raw organic smelling brews. There's cinnamon and nutmeg present, so there's that I guess.

The smell is actually a bit more like pumpkin pie than the taste is though. This is pretty bittersweet, but it's not bad at all. The spices come through heavy and it all makes sense when you drink it. Tastes natural and is actually pleasant, but could it use some sugar or vanilla or some more pumpkin spice? You bet your ass it could. I'm not really into those mass-produced synthetic pumpkin beers, and while I do like this version of pumpkin ales, the ones like this really leave me wanting that extra sugar kick on the end. Because really, a beer like this with some more of that traditional pumpkin pie flavor couldn't really hurt. This one is good but the last of the 6 is really taxing me here.

Tons of gourd and gentle sweetness here. It's enjoyable and fun. In fact, I didn't get tired of it the whole way through. Only I wished it was a bit more over the top. Though I didn't mind how it is.

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