Cigar City “Good Gourd” Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Cigar City “Good Gourd” Pumpkin Ale is 8.5% ABV.

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

Appearance: A careful pour gave very little head, but a small and thin off-white ring around the edges of the glass. As this dissipated, it left just a hint of very thin lacing. The color is an opaque and cloudy deep orange/copper. This appears to have light carbonation.

Smell: At the front, I get deep and starchy vegetal pumpkin, some pumpkin pie spicing, and a pronounced sweetness. This smells like a real hearty  pumpkin pie. The pumpkin scent is forthright and has a nice rich character to it, almost as though there were some sweet potato and some other gourds thrown in as well. The spices seem to have cinnamon, nutmeg, and some other pumpkin pie spices. There is a slight tropical scent to the spicing of this. The beer also has pronounced vanilla, and a light brown sugar sweetness. Overall, this smells warm, sweet, and unique. Really great smell.

Taste: This has strong and sweet pumpkin up front, along with some warm fall spicing. The pumpkin flavor is rich, and has a really interesting character to it. I described the smell as having a slight tropical scent. Here the fruity and pumpkiny flavor seems to bring with it tropical notes as well, with something like banana. The spices in this are nice. They do not overwhelm the beer, and seem to consists in cinnamon, some allspice, and maybe nutmeg. The pumpkin flavor really is front and center, and so the spices accent really well. I really like how well the spices are blended in. This, as in the smell, carries with it some strong vanilla, and a creamy sweetness of light brown sugar and whipped cream. It really does have a profound dessert-like quality to it. This finishes to let some of the slightly bitter spicing take hold over the sweetness a bit, which makes way for an aftertaste of gourdy pumpkin, vanilla, and slight bitterness. Really great and inviting taste.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with light carbonation. It is warm, creamy, and not without some dynamics in the feel. It begins smooth and sweet with the starchy pumpkin and gives way to more of the spices for a rich and slightly bitter finish. The sweetness is nice and smooth, and allows the spices to break it up a bit. This has an outstanding feel.

Drinkability: This is outrageously drinkable for the 8.5% it packs. The smoothness and the sweetness help quite a bit here here. Yet the sweetness does make this one sort of heavy, in a way that could detract from the drinking of it over time. Also, and not as a serious criticism, but simply by way of noting: the flavors are intense. This, along with the strong ABV, could pose some restrictions on one’s ability to drink a whole lot of this without noticing it.

Overall: I am overwhelmed by how good this beer is. The pumpkin flavor is strong and unique. It has this starchy and rich character to it. This beer also has, in part due to its spicing, some nice tropical tastes. This is a nice angle on a pumpkin beer, with rich and interesting flavors. I am a big fan of this beer. After first having a few sips of this, I was unsure as to whether this was the best pumpkin beer I’ve had this season. It is so good. However, after working through about 12 ounces, I think that this is just slightly less appealing than my current favorite, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. This is due to the relatively heavy sweetness in this that weighs the beer down a bit. The Cigar City also isn’t as successful with having the very prominent and well-rounded warmth that Schlafly exudes so well. Even so, the smoothness, strong and unique pumpkin, and otherwise interesting flavors in this give this beer quite a leg up, and a huge advantage over almost all of the pumpkin beers I’ve ever had. It really only falls short of Schlafly, so I say, by a rather small margin. What a wonderful beer. Definitely try it if you get the chance. Thanks to Matthew out of Venice, Florida for hooking me up with this delicious brew!

Overall Rating: ****3/4


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