Upslope Pumpkin Ale is 7.7% ABV.
I poured some of a 16 oz can into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A steady pour didn’t provide much by way of head. This has a beautiful and rich dark red/orange color, which has great clarity. This looks to have mild carbonation.
Smell: This has a roasted pumpkin presence, and a tame backdrop of warm and somewhat woody “pumpkin pie” spicing. I get something like cinnamon and clove, though it isn’t co clear in the aroma. This also has some smooth malt, with some toastiness, as well as some brown sugar. This has a fairly mild aroma overall.
Taste: To start I get some very smooth pumpkin which is on the roasty side. In back of this there is some evenly dosed spicing of cinnamon, ginger, and (I think) clove. There is also some notable vanilla, some smooth slightly toasty malt, and some almost rum-like dark sweetness with brown sugar. Really this is so smooth in flavor, seems much more like a lager. The finish has some of the smooth malty sweetness and rum-esque notes, giving off just a bit of slight bitterness and faint rum, which extends into the aftertaste. This is very smooth in flavor. And the flavors are overall very nice.
Feel: This ale is medium bodied, with light carbonation. The feel, as noted, is much more like a lager. I wonder if they fermented this at a lower temperature. This doesn’t give of the approaching 8% ABV. I almost wonder whether this is actually 7.7%, although there is something of a hint of this right at the end. In any case, this is consistent and smooth. Not a really dynamic feel, or anything incredibly heavy on the palate. Good marks here.
Drinkability: This is incredibly drinkable. I wouldn’t know it is higher for ABV. And the spicing is done so well that it doesn’t drag or give off that lingering bitterness so common with this style. Very good here.
Overall: This is very nice, very smooth, and has good pumpkin flavor, which is on the roasty side. The pumpkin flavor is clear throughout, and has a great character to it. This is not super bold or incredibly complex with its flavors, though it certainly is good. What is notable is that the warm spicing and sweetness are very well-balanced with the pumpkin. This would be great with a savory dinner or snack, a nice flavorful roasted dish, be it vegetables or a good cut of meat. This is just so smooth. I would certainly buy this.
Overall Rating: ***3/4
About Upslope and their Pumpkin Ale: Upslope Brewing Company was founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2009. Matt Cutter, co-owner with Danny Pages, head brewer, began this venture in Colorado after meeting in Argentina, where Danny owned a brewery. Since then, they have offered craft beer to the outdoorsy folks of Colorado in a versatile outdoorsy package: the now trendy beer can. Upslope offers all of their beers in cans, because of convenience, care for the environment, and concern for protecting the beer (in part since light is no friend of beer).
Upslope’s Pumpkin Ale is offered as a special release in 16oz cans. They use substantial amounts of Baby Bear pumpkins, which they get locally from Munson Farms in Boulder. A spice blend so far un-explained of six spices adds some warmth and complexity to this beer. Upslope’s pumpkin won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011 for the pumpkin beer category. It has also become their most coveted seasonal release, which hit shelves in 4-packs on October 1st. During it’s season, this beer competes for attention with their five popular year round beers: Upslope’s brown ale, lager, pale ale, india pale ale, and imperial india pale ale. This is a great beer from the embarrassment of riches that is Colorado beer.