Beer Works “Pumpkin Works” Pumpkin Ale is 5.0% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a “craft beer glass”.
Appearance: A heavy pour allowed an inch of thin off-white foam. This sunk down to about a quarter inch in about 5 minutes, still clearly covering the surface of the beer while fizzing heavily at the top. The color is a bright and clear medium orange/amber. This also looks to have a lot of carbonation.
Smell: At first I notice the spice profile, along with some slightly sour vegetal pumpkin. Both the pumpkin and spices are fairly strong on the nose. The spices I get are nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. I pick up some brown sugar and vanilla as well. The malt in this is great with a little toast to it. The more I smell this, the more the warm spices come out. Good smell.
Taste: This has good vegetal pumpkin flavor, with some toast from the soft malt bill. The spices are rich and warm, consisting of (I think) nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Like also in the nose, I get some brown sugar and some round vanilla tones. These sweeter flavors are very nice. The pumpkin is certainly there, being quite strong for this lighter bodied beer. The pumpkin brings with it a bit of astringency. This beer finishes to give some of the brighter hops a bit of air time. The aftertaste has some more brightness from the hops, a little dulled bitterness from the spice profile, and a touch of pepper.
Feel: This is light bodied, with heavy carbonation. The feel is dynamic. It starts out very smooth on the palate, with a soft malt presence. Then you get some spices emerging, and an eventual pop of bright vegetal pumpkin and hops. The astringent pumpkin and hops at the end keep this from dragging with the spices, as many do. Good marks here.
Drinkability: This is pretty drinkable. The smooth malt makes it easy to drink. The bright hops do hang on the palate a bit more than I’d like. But as this is mostly quite smooth and lower in ABV, it gets decent marks here.
Overall: I like the astringent vegetal pumpkin in this. The spice profile is also done well: some standard fare pumpkin pie spices, but with some warmth. The round vanilla is also nice. A great quality this has is a dynamic feel. It starts so smooth and so soft, then breaks with some hops and more vegetal pumpkin with a few sour notes. This is a solid lower-ABV pumpkin offering. For 5%, it has a lot of flavor.
Overall Rating: **3/4
About Beer Works and their “Pumpkin Works”: Beer Works was opened by the Slesar Brothers in Boston, Massachusetts in 1992. It has offered the folks of the Boston area good local craft beer, and now comprises six brewpub locations throughout Greater Boston. Each brewpub has the ability to experiment with their own particular recipes, which accounts for how Beer Works is able to release 55 different beer styles in a single year. The innovations from Beer Works include New England’s first blueberry beer in 1992, as well as some early experiments with watermelon, pumpkin, and the India Pale Ale style. Beer Works now has over a million customers a year, extending well beyond Greater Boston.
I spoke with Scott Linzmeyer, director of distribution, who was very generous with providing information about their pumpkin offering. “Pumpkin Works” has been brewed since 1992 for folks in the Greater Boston area. It has been the most popular beer ordered during its season at their brewpubs. Surprisingly, this is the first year that “Pumpkin Works” has been bottled and shipped outside of Boston. For the brewing of it, they use real pumpkin during the mash, and later add a spice blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove during the boil. Having been offered at Beer Works’ first location in historic Fenway since the early 90’s, its nice other folks in New England get to enjoy it as well. “Pumpkin Works” also has a partner beer. New in 2013 is “Black O Lantern”, and imperial pumpkin stout. This can be found at Beer Works brewpubs, as well as through Beer Works’ distribution network. Look for my review of it tomorrow!