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Pumpkin Beer Report, Volume I: Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale

That thing in his hand is a glass of
Pumpkin Flavoring #48C59 Orange...
It's Fall, ladies and gentlemen, and you know what that means, yes, indeed...leaves, the smells of
woodsmoke, cool breezes, pumpkins all that b.s. In Indiana, it not only means all of that, but it means the window is open on what probably amounts to about two good months (split between spring and fall) when it's nice to be outside and the bugs are gone. I say that as I just got bit by a mosquito...indoors. It means all that...and it means PUMPKIN BEERS ARE BACK BABY.

Oh yes...from about mid-August until they all sell out (somewhere just prior to Halloween or a week or so into November, if we're lucky) the cinammony, spicy, pumpkiny autumnal goodness that is pumpkin flavored beer will be on the shelves. It excites me almost like the annual coming of Boo-Berry cereal when I was a kid...only less, because my heart has grown blacker and blacker with age.... Just kidding! No way a cereal could compare to a beer!

This week I've purchased a sixer of Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it about a 6.5. If you really have a taste for pumpkin ale, and there's nothing else around, go for it. But there are far, far finer expressions of the pumpkin flavored brew.

What's wrong with it? Objectively I can say that it's decent beer...or perhaps it was decent beer before they dropped droplets of whatever imitation pumpkin flavoring and liquid cinnamon they could find into it and tried to pawn it off as "pumpkin" flavored beer. When I drink it I think of chemicals, not fire-pits and leaf-piles and Halloween...and I wonder what it's doing to my insides.

The beer and the "pumpkin" just didn't seem blended together right. I would imagine that's because they didn't brew it with actual pumpkin flavor, but added it afterwards, as it indeed says on the bottle. Come to think, I wonder how many of the larger micro-brews actually brew with pumpkin or just use better flavoring.

AT THE SAME TIME: There's a refreshing, chemically sweetness to it that makes me want to drink it more. Kind of like the way Aunt Jemima's wasn't "real" syrup but it tasted all the better to you as a kid because it wasn't. Not that I knew any of that until years later, but...I'm just saying Pumpkinhead does, indeed, do the trick.

Anyway...if you want to drink something that tastes like you took canned pumpkin pie, boiled it into a syrup (making sure to char some of it on the bottom of the pan) and poured it into a perfectly good american ale, Shipyard might be your ticket. As the ghosts say, "Boo."


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