Friday, October 24, 2008

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale Review

Brewery: Buffalo Bill's Brewery | Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Style: Pumpkin Ale
| ABV: 4.9%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin AleHere's a beer that pops up in force every year around this time. From groceries store endcap displays to pub chalkboards, Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale has quite a high profile for a few weeks each year. In my experience, this is the standard Pumpkin Ale for most people. Maybe this is all just in my region of the country, but as this beer originates from Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Northern California, I'm pretty sure it's not. With festive, non-pretentious packaging, and a reputation, I had high hopes for this beer.

Appearance: A somewhat hazy amber body with a finger and a half of eggshell-white head. The head is fizzy and quickly settles into a minimal ring around the glass and leaves hardly any lacing.

Aroma: Pie spices and overly sweet pumpkin, with more emphasis on the former than the latter.

Taste: The same spices, general sweetness and dark fruit are the dominant flavors here, but the pumpkin just isn't coming through as much as it should. In fact, the whole flavor profile is decidedly on the thin side.

Mouthfeel: On the similar note, the mouthfeel is rather thin and watery without much of an aftertaste. Carbonation is high enough to resemble soda at times.

Drinkability: This beer goes down the hatch easily enough, although leaves a lot to be desired. However, if I was in the mood for a Pumpkin Ale at a bar where this was all that was available on tap, I'd still probably order a few.

Verdict: I find this beer bland, and that it really fails to deliver on its biggest promise: pumpkin. But, I can certainly see it's appeal to the masses and therefore why it's become so popular. Pumpkin Ale is an appealing premise for the Fall months and this beer, being on the thinner and sweeter side, is not too much of a deviation from the regular macro fare. For the more traveled drinker, however, much more complicated and satisfying Pumpkin Ales can easily be found (my personal favorite being Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale).

Grade: D

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