Beer Review 0035: Coors Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Two things right off the top must be said about Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Blue Moon’s autumn seasonal:

1). Yes, I know this really isn’t craft beer, brew snobs. As I’ve stated before, this website is to review beer of all types; highbrow, lowbrow, mediumbrow. I’ve reviewed, so far, everything from Heineken (71 points) to Duvel (100 perfect points). I’ve reviewed several beers craft brew people would generally frown upon, but I don’t print reviews for drinks that score less than 70 points. That doesn’t mean I don’t try those beers, though.

Perhaps at some point I will start a monthly (or quarterly) posting about which beers I had that didn’t make 70 points. Or should I just start printing every review of every beer, 70 points or not?

2). The name of this beer, “Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale,” really upsets me because it used to be called “Harvest Moon.” The great Neil Young, who I named this website after, has an album called “Harvest Moon,” so when every fall came around, I liked to buy this beer and listen to that record. It just isn’t the same with the new name. I’ll try not to let that affect my review!

With that covered, what you need to know about this seasonal, which is made by Blue Moon Brewing Company, a brand of the gigantic Coors. This beer is one of the many pumpkin ales out on the market now, offered in the fall months, and like most of the other pumpkin beers, combines a recipe of spices (in this case, allspice, cloves and nutmeg) with fresh pumpkins.

Harvest Pumpkin Ale offers a unique twist in the form of a touch of wheat, and the company says the taste will remind one of pumpkin pie. ABV (alcohol by volume) comes in at 5.7%.

The pour produced a light orange/amber beer with an average but quickly diminishing head that left several large good sheets of lacing behind. The liquid was clear in body with no particles or sediment. Autumn in a glass? Check.

On the nose, the first aroma is grainy malts mixed with doughy yeast and pumpkin. The clove is present in a big way, along with some subtle nutmeg. The whole aromatic category is somewhat subdued as this is a very creamy and sweet smelling beer with a touch of butter, but you really have to press your nose into the glass to pick up on all the nuances.

Harvest Pumpkin Ale is a thin but creamy drink on the tongue, hitting you with a grainy malt taste blast, followed by a finish of pumpkin and clove that is wonderfully balanced and lingers on the taste buds for a decent length of time. I found the beer to be a touch spicy and sweet, which added to the great balance of pumpkin versus all the associated spices.

These seasonal pumpkin beers either tend to be way too pumpkin-y in the sense of artificial pumpkin, or too much on the spice (clove in particular) side, but this Blue Moon offering was surprisingly very balanced and smooth, quite pleasant.

Overall verdict? Nothing spectacular here, but of all the pumpkin beers on the offer, this is one of the better ones. The pumpkin pie described by Blue Moon you would find? Not hardly — but the flavors are interesting if somewhat one dimensional.
If you’re new to autumn pumpkin beers and need a starting point, this would be a good one, simply for the balance and smoothness.

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, 79 points. Price: $7.99 US for six pack.

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