Hardywood Park “Farmhouse Pumpkin” Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Hardywood Park “Farmouse Pumpkin” Pumpkin Ale is 8.5% ABV.

I poured some of this 750 ml bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: A somewhat careful pour produced about 1 to 2 fingers of off-white and bubbly foam. This lasted about a minute and a half, before settling into about 1/8 of an inch of denser whipped foam that left medium-thickness lacing along the sides of the glass. The color on this is a bright and quite clear light orange. Many bubbles rising suggest heavy carbonation.

Smell: I get a lot of bready yeast, and some spicing of cinnamon and (I think) nutmeg. There is also some bright vegetal pumpkin fruitiness that balances with the other smells and doesn’t overwhelm. There is also a fairly strong light brown sugar sweetness to this one that also has some rock candy aspects to it. This smells smooth and bright, restrained, and quite inviting.

Taste: The taste in this is bolder than I thought it would be. I get strong, fairly spicy, and somewhat roasty pumpkin that is backed by some complex sweetness and pronounced yeast. This sweetness is like light brown sugar and rock candy. The spices seem to be cinnamon, and something like ginger that gives a sort of punchy fine-grained and pepper like addition to the spices. These spices are forward. The yeast is not as pronounced in the taste as it was in the smell, though it is clearly present and is clearer towards the finish. The finish is decently sweet and has some lemony notes and sugars that take hold. These fade away leaving a peppery, spicy, and bitter aftertaste. Really good and complex flavors in this one.

Feel: This is medium bodied with medium to heavy carbonation. It is warm and dynamic for feel. There is the spice up front that has some movement, which gives way to a smoother sweetness. There is some slight alcohol poking through on the feel.

Drinkability: This beer is alright on this score. It is fairly smooth, warm, and the sugars add a nice feel to it which makes it good for drinking. There is, as I said, a bit of alcohol that pokes through, which detracts from it. The aftertaste also leaves some strong bitter spice on the palate that isn’t that harsh, but isn’t so smooth.

Overall: This beer is nice, restrained, and a good thing to drink on Halloween’s eve. I like the yeastiness, and the spices with the pumpkin. The pumpkin flavor is enjoyable, and isn’t lost in the yeast or spices or sugar. It is well balanced, with the perhaps very small exception of the spices. They are somewhat bold and do linger on the palate a bit. They are stronger than I remember them being last year. Hardywood calls this a “Wallonian style farmhouse ale brewed with pumpkin and spice”. I remember finding out about this beer last year, and was so excited to try it. The same was true of this year, and I haven’t been disappointed drinking it.  It is a yeasty and carefully sweetened pumpkin ale with a firm spice character.  It is definitely worth trying if you can get a bottle of it, especially if you like yeasty beers.

Overall Rating: ***1/2

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