Hardywood Park “Farmhouse Pumpkin” Pumpkin Ale (2011)

Hardywood Park “Farmhouse Pumpkin” Pumpkin Ale comes in at 8.5% ABV.

I poured some of a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A careful pour gave three fingers of light tan bubbly head that hung on for a few minutes, slowly dissipating to a thin foam with medium lacing. The color is a just-slightly-cloudy bright orange/copper. The carbonation appears medium to heavy in this one.

Smell: I get pumpkin, spices, and some botanical elements. The spices prominent are cinnamon and cloves, with some punchy ginger. The nose is quite yeasty, and definitely has that farmhouse smell. It is citrusy, sort of warm, and inviting.

Taste: There is really strong pumpkin, and a citrusy and yeasty body. The spices are complementing the pumpkin, though not overwhelming it. And the farmhouse elements are not lacking. It is yeasty, citrusy, sweet but not syrupy, and effervescent. It has some light brown sugary sweetness, and a crisp and refreshing finish. The aftertaste has a little of the spices, and some bitter notes.

Feel: Medium bodied, with a lot of carbonation. Even after I take a sip, I can hear it fizzing off of my tongue. It coats the mouth well, and has a dynamic feel. The beginning is punchy and a bit sweet. Towards the end you get some effervescent carbonation, which leaves little dull notes of bitter.

Drinkability: This beer is quite flavorful with a dynamic feel. Because of this, it drinks pretty nicely. Even so, the alcohol noticeably comes through; The 8.5 ABV comes through clearer than one may want.

Overall: I love farmhouse ales, and really like pumpkin beer. So this is something like the best of two worlds for me. I like the citrusy and yeasty notes in this. The pumpkin flavor is powerful, and is accented by the spice. In terms of flavor, this is quite good. And even the feel is dynamic, being smooth with some sugar, and having bitterness and punchiness. I think the alcohol drags a bit much, and detracts from the otherwise really pleasant experience. I think this is a great beer, along the lines of Shipyard’s “Smashed Pumpkin”. Though in comparison, I like the “Smashed Pumpkin” just a little better qua pumpkin beer. “Smashed Pumpkin” does better as a pumpkin beer, in part because of its richness and warmth. The Hardywood could be just as good as a Summer beer. Regardless, if you can get the Hardywood, which runs for about 10 bucks a bottle, I say do it!

Overall Rating: ***3/4

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