Beer Review 0502: Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale

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When writing and talking about Pumpkin beer, we rarely stop to consider the history of using pumpkins in beer making — it dates back to the late 17th century when malt supplies were scarce, and brewers had to improvise. Pumpkins happened to be plentiful, and the sugars contained within happened to make for an excellent fermentable, meaning that the first use of pumpkins in beer was more about a necessary ingredient, not flavor.

In this review, we’re taking a look at one of the oldest pumpkin beers on the market, originally brewed by Post Road Brewing Company in Framingham, Massachusetts. Today, the brand is owned by the Brooklyn Brewery of Brooklyn, New York, the first successful commercial brewery located in New York since Schaefer & Rheingold closed in 1976. Founded by Associated Press writer Steve Hindy and banker Tom Porter, they both quit their day jobs to make the beer dream a reality.

Post Road Pumpkin is brewed with Dickinson pumpkins and nutmeg, and chooses to eschew the normal spices like allspice or cinnamon, which are traditionally found in pumpkin beers. Available only in August-November, Post Road is 5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 24 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

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Emptying into a glass produced a small, foamy, and puffy bright white head that just didn’t have any staying power. Color of the beer was golden-orange, and the body was very clear, featuring not even a hint of particles or sediment. Lacing was fair, leaving a small bit of patchy foam here and there on the glass.

The nose is fairly basic for a pumpkin beer, and the lack of spices are evident. This could be either a good or bad thing depending upon your like of the traditional pumpkin pie spices; myself, I find it refreshing to not be sniffing a pumpkin brew that is overly spiced. There’s plenty of biscuity malt, some hearty pumpkin, and a dash of nutmeg. that’s about it. It’s clean and light, but that certainly doesn’t make it bad.

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On the taste, the malts are very clean and light, with notes of biscuit and toasted bread. There’s a moderate amount of pumpkin — this isn’t really like pumpkin pie, but more like actual pumpkin, and it’s just a smidgen tart. The nutmeg kind of helps clean the palate, believe it or not — the finish is clean with faded pumpkin pie and a dash of cinnamon. Since this isn’t brewed with cinnamon, I’m thinking that actual flavor might be from pumpkin pie memory. But I swear it’s there. Light-bodied, Post Road Pumpkin is thin in mouthfeel and foamy when swirled.

Meh. That’s the first thought I had whilst drinking this one — it’s very average in nearly every aspect, which is different for a pumpkin beer, considering they are normally spiced to the extreme. It’s wet and has more flavor than industry-produced beer; if you’re a fan of actual pumpkin flavor, you’d dig it.

Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale, 78 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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