Champion “Spice Must Flow” Pumpkin Spice Ale (2013)

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Champion “Spice Must Flow” Pumpkin Spice Ale is 6% ABV.

I was served a 16 oz pint glass on tap at the brewery.

Appearance: This was served with a half finger of thin and bubbly off-white head, which dissipated quickly. The color is a moderately cloudy iced tea/amber with an orange hue. This looks to have mild carbonation.

Smell: This has some malty vegetal pumpkin with a strong but soft spice presence. It reminds me of the smell of Cottonwood’s Pumpkin Ale. But Champion’s is perhaps more inviting. This has good spicing of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, as well as a some enjoyable brown sugar. Great warm aroma.

Taste: The taste is lovely with roasted pumpkin, smooth malt, and warm spice. This has strong flavors and is certainly on the malty side of things, with notable vanilla and warm spicing of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger (I think). It also has some other spice components that I just overheard are from chai. I probably wouldn’t have gotten that from the taste alone, though I can definitely pick it up now. The spicing really is nice and smooth with this one. This finishes with some warm spicing and roasted pumpkin giving way to a little citrus and some vegetal tones. The warm spice is present in the aftertaste, but doesn’t drag. Nice flavors overall.

Feel: This offering is medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. It has great warmth and roast, and is overall pretty creamy. The spices don’t drag or get too muddy, despite being strongly dosed. Great feel.

Drinkability: This is about as good for drinkability as a very spice-heavy beer can be. If the spicing were less heavy, this could be even better. I like the spicing, though. So pretty good here.

Overall: I enjoyed this one. Good roasted pumpkin and chai flavors, an enjoyable feel that is on the creamy side, and some strong spicing that is not too sharp and doesn’t drag. The vanilla is also nice. For my tastes, I’d like a little more roasted pumpkin and a bit less heavy spice. Although I have to say that the chai was just great. This is a good beer, and would be especially worth pursuing if you really like spiced rum or cider. For their size, Champion offers a surprisingly large number of different tasty beers that they rotate through their brewery. You can always expect something solid, and something off the beaten path.

Overall Rating: ***1/4

image (35)About Champion and “Spice Must Flow”: Champion Brewing is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, a stones throw away from the downtown mall. I wrote a little about them in yesterday’s post, where I reviewed their “Kicking and Screaming” pumpkin IPA.

Champion makes their “Spice Must Flow” pumpkin spice ale with roasted local pumpkins, Vietnamese cinnamon, chai, and some lactose which boosts the body and feel. This warm and smooth beer is 25 IBU’s and 6% ABV. I popped in  to try some of this beer after hearing a few hours before that it was about to be offered. That was also when I learned that it existed, which was fun for me. When I arrived, Champion was starting a marathon of all three Friday the 13th movies, which I thought was a great compliment to the beer. My partner did not agree, as she is not a fan of the horror genre. If you haven’t been by Champion, and are near the area, its definitely a great place to drink good and interesting beer in Charlottesville.


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