I begin my arduous trek into the realm of pumpkin beers with a Massachusetts local; Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale; a 5.7% ale brewed with 17 pounds of pumpkin per barrel, as well as roasted and smoked malts. It pours a deep garnet and produces an incredibly sweet aroma. I felt like I was walking through a harvest festival eating a candied apple.
Though you do get a bit of caramel malt, it seems like there are very little beer flavors going on. There is so much pumpkin pie spice that the malts have to fight for a presence. The body is slightly thin, but to its advantage, I will say that it is crisp and smooth with some alcohol esters kicking in, in the spicy/sticky finish.
When I started drinking craft beers, pumpkin beers entranced me. I’m a big Halloween buff so I totally adored the overly sweet and over-the-top cinnamon sugar spice of even the lowliest pumpkin beer. I would have really enjoy Sam Adam’s Pumpkin a few years back, but my tastes have changed over the years, and now, even around All Hallows’ Eve, I need more beer than spice, and this beer is definitely lacking that.