As much I as I hate to believe it, summer is done and cold weather is ahead. The two benefits of this are fall seasonals and football. Eventually we will also have winter seasonals and football too. Trying to stay positive here! The first fall seasonal beer I have decided to review is Shipyard Brewing Company’s Smashed Pumpkin Ale. This beer is part of Shipyard’s Pugsley’s Signature Series and any time you have a special series it often means high ABV of imperial stature. This pumpkin ale fits the bill weighing in at 9 % ABV. It took me a while to warm up to the concept of pumpkin beers and I am happy to say I am fully onboard after about 3 or 4 seasons of practice. Brewed in Portland, Maine, this beer contains Light Wheat and Munich malts paired with the spicy/earthy Willamette and Hallertau hops. You may be wondering why wheat malts are used in ale such as this, well according Beer Advocate they are often used in small quantities to help head retention. Moving on, time to try this Imperial Pumpkin.
I purchased this beer in a 22oz bottle, retailing at $13 in North Carolina. My tasting was done in a Belgian beer glass to ensure I could take in all the aromas this beer has to offer. The color is a cloudy copper with a white head (which actually had little retention after all my educating above). The aromas of this beer are the obvious pumpkin and nutmeg as you will find in most pumpkin ales, but really not as overwhelming as other I have consumed. Taste once again incorporates the expected pumpkin and nutmeg, but the added bonus is actually being able to taste the spicy hops which tend to be buried in most pumpkin ales. A little too much of the alcohol taste is coming through for my liking. Mouth feel is smooth, light to medium with minimal carbonation. Unfortunately the alcohol in beating out those hops in the lingering after taste. Overall, I like that this ale does not smell or taste overwhelmingly like a pumpkin pie with a pound of nutmeg. However, I was a little disappointed in the balance and inability to tame the alcohol taste at the end. I tend lower my rating based on the after taste because when I sit around drinking a beer, I can’t be swishing it around in my mouth the whole time. Therefore, I will give the Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale 3.5 mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.
This was my first Shipyard beer and I look forward to trying more of their offerings. To read more about the brewery, check out their website here: http://www.shipyard.com/. I plan on reviewing another pumpkin ale in the “Imperial” category as I would like to compare the finish on others to see if my expectations are too high. Look out for the Southern Tier Pumking review in the next couple of weeks.