'Tis the season! We've rejoiced in the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks and are anticipating a tasty slice of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving... it seems like everything under the sun has become pumpkin flavored!
Personally, I'm not a fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes or pies or cheesecake or, frankly, pumpkin anything (apologies; call me when it's Peppermint Mocha season.) However, it wasn't until my friend introduced me to pumpkin BEER that I started thinking about seasonal drinks. Over the course of October, we tried just about any pumpkin draft we could get our hands on – here's what we found tasty:
Rock Bottom Pumpkin Ale – RoBo, as it's affectionately known by a few Emersonians, is a microbrewery located right behind the Little Building. Patrons can tap their own brews right at their table (crazy, right?) and split a couple of their awesome appetizers.
RoBo's Pumpkin Ale debuted at the Boston location late in October – but it was extremely worth the wait. It's a little on the darker side, and a little bitter. However, it's the aftertaste that's the real kicker, as it's very smooth and tastes more like real pumpkin than other beers.
Grade: 4/5 – Good for fans of dark beers.
Magner's Hard Cider – Pumpkin is not king of all fall brews, and this gem's available year round. It's the right mixture of the roughness of beer mixed with the crisp spiciness of apple cider. You might get a little flack for drinking it (it's definitely a 'girly' beer) but totally, completely worth it.
Grade: 4/5 – Straight up tasty.
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – I've tried Smuttynose IPA before, and it wasn't pleasant. However, their pumpkin ale makes up for it quite nicely. More orange than any other pumpkin brew I tried, it tasted more like pumpkin pie than straight up pumpkin. This might be due to the spices its brewed with.
Grade: 3.5/5 – Try it if you like the spice flavor of pumpkin pie.
Guys, please drink responsibly.
Sam Adams' OctoberFest – The Crown Jewel of fall beers, Sam Adams' fall brew is hearty and a little overpowering. For those who are a fan of strong flavor and like mid-range hued beers, you've found your match.
This flavor's already being switched out for their Winter Ale, but why not take a trip down to the Sam Adams' Brewery? It's in Jamaica Plain on the Orange Line!
Grade: 3.5/5 – Possibly the 'manliest' of the bunch, but, hey, girls can be beer drinkers, too!
Blue Moon Harvest Moon – I love Blue Moon in the summer. I love that it pairs perfectly with orange slices and just has a summer-y feel to it.
I don't, however, love Blue Moon's Harvest Moon. My friend and I have a dumb joke about beer basically being “bread juice” and this is the personification (beer-ification?) of that. It lacked the spice that other pumpkin beers had, and smelled a little weird.
Grade: 2/5 – Stick with Blue Moon in the summer, change to something else for fall.
Shipyard's Pumpkin Ale – Time and time again, this was consistently the best tasting pumpkin beer. I'd seen a plethora of people pour out of Blanchard's Liquors in Allston with cases of it for Halloweekend plans.
I especially enjoyed it when I had a pint at nearby Sweetwater Tavern, which my fellow 21+ Emersonians know is our version of Central Perk. At Sweetwater, my friend and I were served Shipyad in a glass with a cinnamon/nutmeg rim – The extra spice made for a sweeter taste, and slightly embarassing moments when we realized we were licking the glass rims.
Grade 4.5/5 – Very pumpkin-y, very bubble and lots of fun!