Its getting dark around 7PM now, the leaves are beginning to turn brown and its time to consider packing up the summer clothes, YES Fall is here. As much as I hate the cold weather, I love the return of the roboust seasonal ales that pop up around this time of year. Christmas Ales, Octoberfest Beers and Pumpkin beers all highlight the season and make me thirsty just thinking about it.

Since Octoberfest and Christmas beers don’t have a defined profile, making it harder to pick the right one, I focus on something I can sink my lips into, pumpkin ales. Who doesn’t want a nice piece of pumpkin pie with whip cream? Who doesn’t like carving Jack-O-Laterns? Is there a better symbol for Fall then a pumpkin?

So far I have had two pumpkin ales Dogfish Head Punkin Ale and River Horse Hipp-O-Latern which have left me questioning my decision to try pumpkin beers.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale tastes like any other spice ale with an after taste of pumpkin. You don’t get it while drinking it but you do taste the malt and the spices. Which made me think they mislabeled this four pack but I push ahead and still hold one of my favorite brewers in high regards. As I “baby sat” the beer I noticed that as it warmed up, some of the flavors were more pronounced but this was well above the 48 degrees mark, I would say around high 50’s, cellar temperature. This beer was very underwhelming and its only saving grace was the 7% alcohol.

River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern was very similar to the profile of Dogfish Head. You didn’t really taste any pumpkin just hints of it. Now some might say that this is a “balanced” pumpkin ale but I don’t want to hear that nonsense, I want pumpkin flavor in my beer, is that too much to ask for? After having the four pack with both my wife and sister-in-law they both confirmed that you can’t really taste the pumpkin in this beer at all, just tastes like another ale.

After having these two ales I am left disheartened and left wondering if this is all I can expect from pumpkin ales. I will forge ahead though and continue my trek to find the perfect pumpkin ale.

Next up Southertier Pumpking Ale and Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale.