Brewsday: Post Road Pumpkin Ale
This weekend I finally decided to get on with donating all the extra stuff we brought with us from our old house: the shoes, clothes, stuffed animals, fantasy novels and action figures that we saw fit to pack, but then leave in our garage for three months. I’m not entirely sure what patrons of my local Salvation Army are going to go with a fully-licensed, authentic action figure of The Road Dogg, but I have to think it’s something better than the horrible cat-toy fate that would have otherwise befallen it.
Happily — and perhaps not coincidentally — the largest Beer Store in the area is about four doors down from the Sally-Anne, presenting me with the opportunity to drop off my empties and completely clear my trunk of all the miscellaneous crap I’ve been carting around for the last few weeks.
Oh, but what to do with the one dollar and thirty cents that proceeded such cleanly progress? Save it for wise spending against our household budget? Donate it to a charitable cause to continue my good works? Answer the Beer Store clerk’s question, “Will you be buying any more beer today?” by saying, “Oh! Why yes”?
After my adventures with the St. Ambroise Citrouille, I was left wondering whether all pumpkin beers were the same. That is, do they all have a vaguely spicy flavor that’s complimented by sweetness, but are otherwise entirely unlike pumpkin? Or is there a brew out there that actually manages to capture that gourdy funkiness while still being enjoyably fresh? And is Post Road Pumpkin Ale the one to make the difference? The answers, in order, are:
- Not so far,
- and Definitely Not.
Brought to you by Brooklyn Beer, Post Road Pumpkin Ale — like every microbrew from everywhere, it seems — draws on Colonial Americans as the inspiration for their recipe:
“In the 18th Century colonial americans brewed wonderful and interesting ales by using local ingredients. Barley was the principal ingredient but pumpkins were also used. Pumpkins were favored by brewers for their rich spicy flavors, which melded perfectly with the malted barley. Post Road brings you a delicious rendition of this traditional American classic.”
So, at least I’m learning something. Was pumpkin a barley substitute? An enhancement? A flavoring like malt? Should I expect richness, or subtle hints of pumpkin spice when I drink this? It’s not made entirely clear, and while I admit that I shouldn’t be attempting to learn the craft of brewing from the marketing text on beer labels, I feel like there’s information I’m not getting. So with mixed expectations, I poured the beer and prepared to test my limits.
Post Road Pumpkin Ale pours out smooth, doesn’t froth much, but leaves a thin head with a pleasant flavor. I know I keep noting this, but there’re a surprising number of very popular beers out there with head on them that makes you regret ordering a whole pint, so I don’t feel bad repeating it. It sits golden in the glass with a slightly reddish color, and has a light nose with a very slight hint of caramel. Your first pull on it will be fresh and pleasant, won’t sit heavy on your palette at all, and finishes very clean.
The only thing that’s missing is — stop me if you’ve heard this before — the pumpkin.
If you try hard, you might notice a hint of sweetness, but it’s nothing you won’t find in any other red ale. The flavor will set it apart from your usual Sunday afternoon fare, but you’re not going to quaff this and suddenly have a strong association with pumpkins, the autumn, Thanksigving or early Colonial America. It’s just a competent red beer, but not one that really delivers on its gimmick.
I’d definitely recommend the St. Ambroise before Post Road, if you’re going for a seasonal novelty; however, if you don’t mind something that’s only slightly out of the ordinary, and doesn’t particularly taste any different than several other beers you’ve had before, then you’ve got a safe option here. It’s just a shame that Post Road didn’t embrace the opportunity for flavorful weirdness more fully — it’s not like seasonal beers last forever, after all.
Rating: 2 out of 5 gourds.