Beer of the Week: Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
It's been a few weeks since we've done a Beer of the Week, so I thought I'd come back with something that's in heavy rotation this time of year: pumpkin beer.
People order pumpkin beer by the caseload whenever it's in season, which is usually from August to
December. I don't know why pumpkin, of all things, tends to sell so
much better than other "flavored" beers, but there are a ton of
varieties on the market now. Dogfish Head, Blue Moon, Brooklyn, Saranac,
and more all brew seasonal pumpkin beers. Many can be found in grocery
stores and even convenience stores.
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale is one such widely available pumpkin brew. You
can find it in Publix -- at the store by my house, a big endcap
was devoted just to it. A six-pack will run you around $8.50. Is it
Well, for the most part, yes. What you taste most in Pumpkinhead is
spice, specifically nutmeg and cinnamon and other "pumpkin pie"-type
spices. If you're craving a strong pumpkin aroma, you won't find it.
The beer just isn't that malty, and the actual flavor of pumpkin is not
that far forward. That is probably a good thing for most casual beer
drinkers, though, who probably wouldn't enjoy a supermalty, superpumpkiny brew. As it is, Pumpkinhead is very drinkable, leaving a
slightly spicy tingle and gingerbread-like aftertaste. You can knock a
few back easily and not worry about being too tipsy either.
Shipyard makes an "Imperial" pumpkin ale too. It's called Smashed
Pumpkin and clocks in at 9 percent alcohol. You won't find that in the
grocery store -- just specialty beer stores like Total Wine. If you're
looking for stronger pumpkin flavor, you may want to check that out
instead. But for an easy-drinking seasonal brew, Pumpkinhead will work
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