Three Brothers “Fairgrounds Fall Ale” Pumpkin Ale is 5% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a “craft beer glass”.
Appearance: The easy pour gave less than a finger of off-white and thin head, which dwindled quickly to a thin cloud floating atop the beer. This has a medium orange/amber color, with some definite cloudiness and some notable sediment. It appears to have moderate plus carbonation.
Smell: I first get vegetal tones with some roastiness, as well as some warm spicing and nice bread-like malt. The spicing in this is really nice, interesting, and warm. I’m thinking allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The malt aroma is smooth, and has great bread tones. This has a restrained sweetness, like from light brown sugar and banana. Nothing sharp, nothing aggressive, really nice cohesive aroma.
Taste: The flavors in this are also really nice. I definitely get the spices and some really enjoyable malt. I don’t think I get much pumpkin. As in the aroma, the spices are warm and interesting. I think I get allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The malt profile is very smooth and has nice bready dimensions, mild vanilla sweetness, and a slight toastiness. There is a little brightness, as from hops, but not a lot to speak of. This is certainly on the malty side. There is also something sweet almost like banana in this, giving it a flavor that is a bit different than a lot of the non-sour and non-dark pumpkin ales. This finishes with great spice giving way to a little pleasant bright sour note and some mild peppery bitterness in the aftertaste. This is very pleasant. All the flavors really work together in this. I’m surprised by how much flavor this has, for something 5%.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate plus carbonation. The feel is very good. It is smooth, and has some complexity with the warm spices adding to the otherwise soft malt bill. Great feel.
Drinkability: This drinks really well. It is not overly sweet, and has a lot of good non-intrusive flavor. The mild bitterness and mild sour notes do hang very slightly. Even so, this drinks really well.
Overall: I went to Harrisonburg to visit Three Brothers. While I was in town, I picked up a 6-pack of this beer. I also had it on tap at the brewery. I think I prefer it in bottles. This is a very successful beer. The spices are very well done. And overall it has an interesting flavor, which doesn’t blend in among the many other pumpkin offerings, even in VA. There is something like banana and vanilla that is part of the flavor profile here that really holds it all together. I would certianly recommend this beer. It is a great option, and has a lower ABV!
Overall Rating: ***3/4
About Three Brothers and their offering: Three Brothers Brewing is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I wrote about them last year, when I reviewed their Five Pound Fall Ale, which was a much more limited production beer. If you are ever near Harrisonburg, VA, it is certainly worth a stop.
This beer is said to incorporate a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. No where on the label does it say that they use pumpkin, though in small letters it says ‘our pumpkin ale’.