Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Time to Pick the Pumpkin Patch!

Well, things have been a little crazy lately, but we finally made time to drink all the pumpkin beer we've been stock piling. Mike affectionately calls it the pumpkin patch.

The pumpkin patch.
It started with one beer. I picked up a bottle of Southern Tier's Pumpking as soon as I saw it for the first time this year. I had remembered hearing very good things about it last year and that it was in short supply. I figured we could save it for a special occasion.

Next up, I happened to see Rogue's Pumpkin Patch and had to have it. I always get excited to see Rogue Ales out East and I have enjoyed most of their homegrown line, where they grow many of the ingredients themselves.

Once there were two, Mike took over. It grew to four, then six, then ten. I drew the line there, but of course two more managed to appear.

With twelve beers to drink over the course of a single afternoon, we decided we needed to call in some reinforcements. Our friend Blair also happens to be a big fan of beer, so we invited him over. 12 beers split between 3 people seemed much more reasonable.

It's a happy beer family!
Our twelve beers were as follows;

Evolution          --- Jaques Au Lantern
Rogue Ales       --- Pumpkin Patch
Weyerbacher     --- Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Heavy Seas       --- The Greater Pumpkin
Leinenkugel's    --- Harvest Patch Shandy
Shipyard           --- Smashed Pumpkin
Saranac             --- Our Pumpkin Ale
Southern Tier    --- Pumpking
Southern Tier    --- Warlock
Fordham            --- Spiced Harvest Ale
Troegs               --- Master of Pumpkins
Samuel Adams  --- Harvest Pumpkin Ale

We rated each of these beers in six different areas for a total of 100 points;

Appearance (10)
Aroma (10)
Finish (10)
Pumpkin Flavor (20)
Over all Flavor (20)
General Impression (30)

While we differed on the order of beers a bit, the top three over all beers were in everyone's individual top 4.

Rogue's Pumpkin Patch, sitting pretty.
The over all winner and everyone's first choice was Rogue Pumpkin Patch. With a total score of 259/300, it was the clear stand out of the day. This brew was the only beer of the twelve that was clear, with a nice amber color. It had honey and spice on the nose with a very smooth finish and scored the best out of all the beers on pumpkin flavor.

A Baltimore brew and one of Mike's
favorite breweries.

Second place went to Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin. At 10% ABV, it was the booziest beer in the pumpkin patch. This beer received 242/300 and scored the highest in the General Impression category. It had caramel and a strong whiff of booze on the nose with a creamy oak finish reminiscent of a good chardonnay.

Third place went to Weyerbacher Imperial Ale. This beer scored 237/300. It was only my 4th highest beer, but Blair ranked it his second highest and Mike ranked it his third. It had lots of spice on the nose with a hoppier, heavily carbonated finish. I think the hoppiness was probably why I didn't rank it as high.

Southern Tier Warlock took fourth with 220/300. I personally wasn't as big a fan simply because it was a very dark beer, the darkest and strongest in the pumpkin patch.

Southern Tier Pumpking took sixth place, even though it was my second highest ranked beer. I thought it had an awesome nose of popcorn, vanilla and caramel with a smooth, creamy finish.

Last place was Saranac Our Pumpkin, which was a big disappointment. It was my favorite pumpkin beer last year, and we probably went through at least four 6 packs of the stuff. I'm not sure what they did differently this year, but this beer is a pale shadow of its former self.

I took a buttload of pictures and we all took some notes on the beers, just so we could share our tasting with you. Because we care.

So there you have it; the pumpkin patch has been picked.