Monday, November 1, 2010

This Is What I Drink: 89

The Great Pumpkin Rankings 2010.

So this may be a day late and a dollar short, but oh well. I'm going to rank my favorite pumpkin beers of this past season. Unfortunately most of these are starting to be yanked from the shelves in favor of winter seasonals, but it may be a good guide for buying next year...

1. Southern Tier Pumking:

When I'm looking for a pumpkin beer, I really want those flavors to hit me hard and Pumking does just that. Most of Southern Tier's Imperial series are super flavorful, so it's not big surprise that this one follows suit. When you take a whiff of this guy, it reall smells like a pumpkin pie and the flavor follows suit. At 9% alcohol, it's a pretty hearty beer, but perfect for a 22 oz bomber size. Some say this one's a bit too intense, but I think it's exactly what I look for in a pumpkin beer.

2. Dogfish Head's Punkin' Ale

Not a surprise to see Dogfish's offering here as it's been a favorite of mine since first having it back in 2005 or so. This beer has a delicious brown ale base mixed with all of the classic pumpkin spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin that you would expect. At 7%, this also is heavier, but I think that's fine for this season. Probably more drinkable on a regular basis then the Pumking, so it was very close to taking the top ranking.

3. Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin

This one was new to me this year, but I'm glad I picked it up. They also offer their regular "Great Pumpkin" but I didn't get a chance to try it this year. This one is an Imperial strength beer that is aged in bourbon barrels, already a bonus for me. So not only do get the bourbon flavor, but you also get adequate pumpkin spices mixed in there in this dark and rich brew. Again, it's a strong one at 9%, but super flavorful and definitely a new favorite for the season.

4. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

I guess you probably see a pattern in the strength of some of these, but I guess that's just my style. This one packs a lot of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and pumpking flavor. All of the greats! It's perhaps a bit spicier than some of the others, and I taste the 8% alcohol a little more here than the above, but it's definitely one of the superior pumpkin beers I've had.

5. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

To be honest there isn't a whole lot that separates this and the Weyerbacher offering. I believe they have a similar alcohol percentage, and all of the same flavors are there. This was the first season that I've had this one and I definitely look forward to getting more of it next year. A darn good pumpkin beer.

6. River Horse's Hipp-O-Lantern

Another new one for the season, and another pretty good one. This one didn't quite stack up the other's above, but I don't want that number 6 ranking to give the impression that it's a bad beer, because it was pretty tasty. I think again the higher alcohol wasn't hidden quite as well as some of the other offerings and that brings it down a notch, but otherwise the flavor was what I like in a pumpkin beer.

7. Blue Point Brewery Pumpkin Ale

This one kinda falls to the middle of the pack as a lot of other pumpkin beers do. It's not bad by any means, just kind of average. I feel like a lot of breweries just put out pumpkin beers because they know they'll sell some for the season, but don't necessarily think about making them potentially great beers. That's what this feels like to me.

8. Fisherman's Imperial Pumpkin Stout

Imperial Pumpkin Stout? This had all the makings to be my favorite beer of all time. Perhaps that it wasn't is the reason that's much lower on my rankings. This is a 11% strong, dark stout that initially seemed like it would be a reall winner. It hid the alcohol well, and it tasted like a pretty decent stout, but where was the pumpkin flavor? I understand that stouts have a certain flavor, and perhaps it was difficult to inject the pumpkin spice amongst all of that. It's actually a pretty good beer, but the pumpkin part doesn't live up to the advertising unfortunately.

9. Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider

Okay, so this isn't a beer, but it's pumpkin flavored, so it's going in the list. Unfortunately, it kinda sucked. This tasted like normal woodchuck cider to me, which I'm not a huge fan of anyway. If this had attempted to inject just a bit of pumpkin spice in there, the rating probably wouldn't be this low. This really just tasted like their regular hard cider. Another pumpkin-less disappointment.

10. Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Kinda yucky. The flavor here just tastes super fake. All of this spicy cinnamon hits you, which is okay, but the beer base of this just tastes completely off. You basically taste two contrasting flavors at different times and they don't work together well at all. Not super super horrible, but pretty bad compared to most of these pretty good pumpkin offerings. Probably won't buy it again.

There you have it...Remember these were just personal rankings of things I had this season. I know there are a bunch of others out there that would maybe fit in somewhere in these rankings if I tried them, but I attempted to have some new stuff this year.

1 comment:

  1. Good roundup! I really striked out this year. My only new pumpkin drink purchases were Fisherman's and that damn Woodchuck! So disappointing! Greater Pumpkin was superb, although last years "Great Pumpkin" was great, so that was no surprise.

    If I can get ahold of some Schlafly and River Horse maybe the Pumpkin season will redeem itself.