Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing trying all these pumpkin ales for The Brew Club. As I’ve mentioned before, I reeeely like the concept of pumpkin ales, but very few of the pumpkin ales I’ve tried would I try again. Most are kinda weird.
Take the ‘America’s Original’ Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California. I would love to indulge your curiosity (and mine) as to the claim ‘America’s Original’, but their website is heavily Flash-based and it would be entirely too much work at the moment to get the latest Flash player. Maybe you’ll have better luck! Right now I can’t be bothered. (That’s a tip for their web usability people.)
Assuming it is America’s Original Pumpkin Ale, what does that mean for you, the pumpkin ale freak? I’m afraid it means you’ll keep looking!
The ale itself doesn’t look bad. It pours a slightly hazy orangy amber color. It created but the slightest head and there is no lacing whatsoever.
Getting on to the aroma, this particular 5.2% ABV Pumpkin Ale stands out from the other pumpkin ales we’ve tried because it really puts off the least amount of spices in the smell. You really get a sense of pure pumpkin, not enhanced or masked with clove, nutmeg, allspice and that kind of stuff. Granted, it says it is ‘brewed with real pumpkin and natural spice flavor’ on the label, but I’d say the natural spices are minimal.
Getting on to the taste, I’d say that the same is true. Of all the pumpkin beers I’ve had so far, this is the least spicy and most ‘pumpkiny’ I think. Now, you might think this is a good thing, but the taste of this beer at first got a little ‘wow’ out of me, but then it was more of a blah, and then just weird. You know what a carved pumpkin smells like after a couple days? Well, the taste reminded me a little of that smell. The pumpkin is there, but its just a little too weird or ‘vegetabaly’ (I love these adjectives) because of that for me.
I had mentioned in a previous post of Brooklyn’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale, that pumpkin, in and of itself, is kind of a lame flavor. If you’ve ever just gone into a pumpkin patch and eaten a pumpkin right off the vine, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You need spices and things to ‘enhance’ the flavor. Its like eating a plain venison burger, nobody does it because its awful. Sure, add some onion, spices and other crap and its palatable, but otherwise no thank you!
Same with this beer. Whereas some Pumpkin Ales go overboard on the spices, this Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Brewing is too much on the Pumpkin side.
So, wrapping it up, the beer smells interesting at first, but the first sip pretty much makes this beer a no-deal situation for me and makes me wonder what it is I’m hoping to find in a pumpkin ale. So far, the Dogfish Head Punkin’ is the only one I would really desire to have again or would recommend without reservation to a friend.
Ever have this Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Bills Brewery? What did you think?