Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pumpkin Beer Bingo - A comparison of Pumpkin Ales

Battle of the Pumpkin Ales 2015

We were trolling around on the interwebs recently (instead of doing the work that needed to be done) and stumbled across this article with the audacity to judge the best pumpkin beers available this year (  Quite a bold statement, and since we are quite fond of our own opinions, we thought we would test their findings.  Thus we went to the local beer purveyor and purchased a couple of the selections from their top 5 that are readily available here in Tampa as well as choosing a sample of pumpkin ale from one of our well respected local small craft brewers.  We then set up a blind taste test and had the tasting panel taste, rate and comment on these pumpkin beers. 

The beers that we chose (seen at the bottom of the photo above) were Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Southern Tier Brewing (ABV 8.6%) which was rated as the 4th best pumpkin beer.  Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale (in the middle of the photo above) by local favorite Cigar City Brewing (8.5% ABV) which received the nod as the second best in the country.  And lastly, Six Ten Brewing's Pumpkin Ale (5.0% ABV) one of brewer Chris Johnson's creations is only known locally (seen at the top of the above photo).

First to be reviewed is the Southern Tier Pumpkin Ale which was received very mixed reviews by the Snobs.
   - "Pumpkin spice flavor, less pumpkin, well balanced, thin".
   - "Tastes like medicine, boozy, don't like at all".
   - "Too much spice, cereal tasting".
   - "Boozy, too much spice aftertaste".
   - "Boozy, vanilla, no pumpkin really".
   - "No pumpkin flavor but lots of booze.  Sweet with strong vanilla, good beer, though".

Good Gourd from Cigar City was the second to be reviewed by the snobs and had mixed reviews.
   - "Sweet front end, almost cloying, slightly medicinal".
   - "Well balanced, good pumpkin flavor".
   - "Way too sweet".
   - "Vanilla, syrupy flavor at the end".
   - "Odd mouthfeel, subtle pumpkin".
   - "Soapy mouthfeel, noticable pumpkin flavor, cloying aftertaste".

And lastly was our local underdog Pumpkin Ale from Six Ten Brewing and the reviews should not be a surprise.
   - "Light pumpkin flavor and spices, flavor builds as you drink".
   - "Spices, pumpkin, by far the best of the three".
   - "Perfect amount of pumpkin, not too sweet".
   - "Not overly spiced, good pumpkin flavor".
   - "Warm spiced, identifiable pumpkin".
   - "Rich and malty, nice carbonnation, noticable pumpkin, easy drink".

The panel was also asked to rate the beers from first to worst.  To make it easy, first place received 3 points, second 2 points and third received 1 point.  The score was:

1. Southern Tier Pumking - 9 points
2. Cigar City Good Gourd - 9 points
3. Six Ten Pumpkin Ale - 18 points

Interesting results.  Everyone on the panel chose Six Ten Pumpkin Ale as the best pumpkin ale with Southern Tier and Cigar City in a tie for second.  Thus our results should tell you that you should seek out Six Ten's Pumpkin Ale and we heartily recommend that you try this beer.  See for yourself how going local is always the best choice

Six Ten Brewing 
7052 Benjamin Road
Tampa, FL 33634

Cigar City Brewing
3924 West Spruce Street
Tampa, FL 33604

Southern Tier Brewing
2072 Stoneman Circle
Lakewood, NY 14750