Fall is my favorite season. It gets a little cooler, the leaves get all crunchy, and the fall beer line rolls out! I went up with some friends to my friend Cindy’s cottage for one more weekend of fun while there was still water in Sodus Bay to actually dock the boat. Cindy surprised us with a surprise fall pumpkin beer blind test.
Introducing the panel:
Cindy who would later chart our experience in a very most excellent bar graph. Because she’s a biology teacher…and that’s what they do.
Wil, my friend from college that decided to rate them on his own highly developed and tested “zang” scale.
Rachel, Wil’s wife and another of my friends from college who replied at the end of the tasting “oooh they were all pumpkin beers?”
and myself…who responded to Rachel’s finale with a giant facepalm. I think I still have a bruise.
To set this up: these beers were all paid for & we had no idea what we were drinking until all the votes were in. There were no special preferences or biases. Just 4 people who liked to drink beer. We rinsed after each round with a lite beer, because who the hell drinks water? Pfft. Now that that’s all cleared up…let’s go! The contendors:
The breakdown according to averaged scores:
1. Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale Score: 7.9
2. Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat Score: 5.5
3. Saranac Pumpkin Ale Score: 5.1
4. Blue Point Pumpkin Ale Score: 4.1
5. Post Road Pumpkin Ale Score: 3
6. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale Score: 1.5
As you can see some fared better than others...here's a pic of them in order...in the dark because apparently we drank too much to know to turn the light on when it got dark outside lol.
Beer A – Saranac Pumpkin Ale
Wil: Whoo I would like to say this one has what I call “zang”…and a bit of potpourri. It’s alright. - 6
Cindy: It’s pretty mild & light. It has a little note of spice in there too. I don’t think I like it much though. There’s something that’s a little weird in there– 4.5
Rachel: I agree with Cindy, but it’s so light it’s pretty drinkable. I could drink these for an evening without having to change to a different beer - 6
Violet: It almost tastes like a pumpkin wine cooler. It has that artificial taste and a ton of spice. It’s also pretty fizzy and leaves a gross after taste in my mouth. – 4
Beer B – Blue Point Pumpkin Ale
Wil: This one is definitely less “zangy”. It’s like a sub-amber, it’s almost one but not quite there. I like the first beer a bit more than this. - 5
Cindy: It smells pumpkiny. This is more foamy and tastes like clove. Really bitter after taste I can’t get away from. Yick. - 3
Rachel: Yeah this one is way too crispy. Too hoppy for me too. I couldn’t drink more than what was poured here. - 2
Violet: At least it has a superb head. This one tastes really full-bodied with almost a creamy taste to me. Better than the first beer, but I still feel like it’s missing something. – 6.5
Beer C – Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
Wil: First word that comes to mind – stank. Mid-level “zang”. It tastes like bad fruit punch. - 2
Cindy: I don’t think so. It’s smooth but not over pumpkiny. There’s a mild pumpkin to this which is nice. This is my favorite out of what we’ve tried so far. - 5
Rachel: I think it’s smooth and delicious – 8 (*note*this was all we could get out of Rachel while she glugged the rest of this down)
Violet: Looks like a hefeweizen. Tastes like one but it’s a little different, that might just be the pumpkin tho. It tastes like someone took a regular pumpkin beer and mixed it with a hefeiweizen. No head, head-less pumpkin beer? I still like it – 7
Beer D – Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Wil: Medi-zang? Not a fan of zang. This feels underachieved. “Eh I’ll make a pumpkin beer…no I’ll go out for a drink while it’s brewin” - 3
Cindy: It’s got a good head and it tastes like beer. But what an effin disappointment. – 2.5 (*note* we
paused here while cindy gagged for about 2 minutes)
Rachel: It’s too hoppy…way too bitter. I definitely would say “displeasing” – 2
Violet: I love hoppy sh*t, and I don’t like this crap. Really disappointing head for me & has that “funk” after taste. Maybe that’s what happens when you do pumpkin wrong. – 4.5
Beer E – Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Wil: Whoa! This is like being out for a walk on a nice 61 degree autumn afternoon in New Hampshire with 60% humidity, semi-cloudy and slightly breezy! Perfectly mild amber taste, and it’s not too bitter. I’m so taken aback this doesn’t make an appearance on the zang-o-meter. - 8
Cindy: I like! Nice head and pumpkin aroma. Nice color too. I’d have to agree with you Wil and add in that the walk would be surrounded with colorful foliage, big words, and covered bridges. – 8
Rachel: This seems like a harvest beer. I like the color…and it’s kind of like a milkshake. A delicious beer milkshake with a tiny bit of pumpkin. - 7
Violet: The smell makes me happy. Some others were pretty gross smelling. Tiny bit of pumpkin, nice spice, no ass after taste. Enough of this and Inner Violet would go find a clown to make out with under a big top…twice. – 8.5
Beer F – Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
Wil: This one has a urinal smell. 11 on the hoppy scale…I feel like I went down on a hobo…and he peed a bit. - 1
Cindy: Way too hoppy. Tastes like my crazy meds dissolved on my tongue. This one is a big fat nasty…like a drunken one night stand. - 2
Rachel: Gah. Probably my ass tasted better. This one tastes like puke in my mouth…which I did not like. Just wanted to clarify. - 1
Violet: The smell definitely makes me want to vomit…and I might. At least I wouldn’t have to eat my vomit and give a review of it. Really sad to go from that last one that was so good to this. Gross. Amish people should stick to making furniture.
Wil: Wait. This is an amish beer?
Violet: I have no idea. – 2
Upon completing the blind taste test we waited patiently while Cindy made this clearly unbelievably talented and professional bar graph.
And that was the end of our Great Pumpkin Beer Blind Taste Test #1. Now...if Halloween's comin shouldn't there be some damn candy around???