Welcome Back Pumpkin Beer, Year 3!

I purchased my first pumpkin beer of the season today, on the first of August. Breweries are getting them out early- some even came out in early July. Some rebel against this. What I’ve gleaned en route to an explanation of this phenomena of “rushing the season” is twofold. First, few will buy a seasonal beer when the season has ended, so breweries need to give as much shelf time as they can to avoid missing sales on a lot of beer. Second, many breweries, especially some of the ones producing more sought after pumpkin ales, are doing two different batches and so need time to produce their second batch before the season ends. This all makes good sense. I love pumpkin beer. Though, I myself will wait a couple of weeks before I get into tasting and reviewing. I usually like to begin this blog around the last week or so in August.

As per tradition, I’ll say a little bit about the aim of this 2013 season of reviewing. I’ll also touch on some questions about method and rationale.

New Aims of the 2013 Season

This season I probably am not going to try as many beers as I did last year. Last year I did full reviews of 62 pumpkin beers. This year I want to (i) have some of the one’s that I really like in order to review them again, and (ii) try as many new pumpkin beers as I can. I’d like to focus more on smaller and up-and-coming breweries. There are a lot of great breweries out there. So I’m going to try to get some of the less widely distributed craft beers on the blog this year. I want to extend the library of reviews, but also want to improve my tasting and reviewing. I’ve hit a point where I’ve tried many of the big breweries, so want to focus on and give more prominence to the smaller breweries.

Over the past couple years, I’ve had a good time rating and reviewing. But this season I want my reviews to tell more of a story, while also relaying the standard notes one makes when reviewing a beer. As before, I want this site to be a resource for folks who might try a beer because it was compared to something else they liked. I also want this site to function to encourage people to try more craft beer.

Method, Rationale

My method and rationale (with the exception of what was noted above about current aims) have not really changed since last year. I have previously discussed some questions and issues about my system for rating, and whether or not it is feasible to do a blind-review process. Where I come down is that my system is a non-numeric five star system: * = poor, ** = decent, *** = good, **** = great, **** = exceptional. Moreover, for genuine practical reasons I choose to not do blind-reviewing. (Few can adequately pull this off, without severely limiting the number of beers they review.)

For those interested in more details about the choices made about method, or for information about some of the background assumptions, see this post which kicked off the 2012 season. In that post, I discuss the issues surrounding the non-numerical rating system, and the review process. Also see this post, which kicked of the blog in its first season of 2011. In that post, I discuss some assumptions I make about the rating system, as well as my typical tastes for beer.

Anyway, moving back to the main aim of this post. I’d like to welcome you all to year 3 of the blog! I also welcome any recommendations or suggestions.

If you have a favorite local pumpkin beer, contact me and let me know about it! I’d love to try it. Cheers!

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