Beach “Jolly Roger” Pumpkin Porter is 6.5% ABV.
I poured some of a 32 oz growler into a porter glass.
Appearance: An easy pour from the growler tossed up very little light brown head, which was gone pretty quickly. The color is a dark reddish-brown, with some light coming through it. It looks to have moderate plus carbonation.
Smell: I get strong roast and smoke. This gives off smooth dark malt, and very little by way of hops. I get a little bit of dull spice to it, but nothing that advertises itself so clearly. There is some vegetal pumpkin, though it isn’t so strong. As for sweetness, maybe a touch of molasses. This doesn’t smell all that sweet. Not a whole lot of complexity in the aroma, but a good bit of smoke.
Taste: This has more complexity in flavor than it does in smell. I get roasted and smokey pumpkin, with some vegetal notes. There is also some dark and fairly smooth malt, with good roastiness there too. I’m getting some spice, a little earthy woody spice coming in more towards the end. This does have some restrained molasses sweetness to it. There are noticeable bittering hops, adding good balance. This finishes with the roastiness giving way to some of that spice and some lingering smoke in the aftertaste. Some vegetal tones also linger a bit in the aftertaste. Pretty good flavors, a good bit of smoke, and some present pumpkin.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate to heavy carbonation. The feel has some complexity, with the smooth malt interrupted by the smoke and the roastiness. It is thinner than I was expecting from pouring it, and thinner than I’d expect in a fall porter. The smoke and spicy bitterness does linger a bit. OK feel.
Drinkability: The body is not too heavy, which helps out here. It doesn’t have an alcohol bite. It also doesn’t weigh you down with a lot of sugar, like a lot of other pumpkin porters. The smoke does hang and makes this not drink so smoothly. So this does OK here.
Overall: I like this beer. I like that it is not overly sweet, and that there is good roast and something a bit different than a pumpkin pie style pumpkin porter. I enjoy the hops presence, which I think is just right. I don’t enjoy the (I think) overdone smoke. Perhaps many people will not be bothered by this much smoke. For my tastes, it is more than I’d like. But again, I still enjoy it. This beer isn’t as complex as some other pumpkin porters I’ve had, and is surely not as porter-like in body as some of those others. So I’d think that this is an interesting alternative, but not a destination beer for me. If I were in VA beach looking for a local pumpkin offering that is on the dark side, I’d probably rather go for Back Bay’s “Witch of Pungo”.
Overall Rating: **1/2
About Beach Brewing and their offering: Beach Brewing is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. They have been around for a few years, producing some really enjoyable beets. Among my favorites is their “Hoptopus” double IPA, and their “Seadevil” imperial stout.
This beer was picked up in growler form from the brewery. They smoke the pumpkins themselves for this beer, and end up releasing it a bit later than a lot of the “early creep” pumpkin beers that hit market.