Harvest Pumpkin vs. Pumpkineater

Week Two: Prohibition vs. Howe Sound

Week Two: Prohibition vs. Howe Sound

This October Bad Rider’s beer section is pitting gourd against gourd in a battle to determine which B.C. beer is king of the pumpkin patch. Welcome to Pumpkindrome, Week Two.

The Challengers: Prohibition Brewing Co.’s Harvest Pumpkin Spiced Ale (5.5 per cent ABV, 650mL) versus Howe Sound Brewing Co.’s Pumpkineater (8 per cent ABV, 1L)


I took my first sip of Prohibition’s Harvest Pumpkin and went into a panic that the beer had somehow spoiled in my refrigerator. That about set the tone for this round.

Compared to our last pumpkindrome outing, today’s beers appeared a little more in line with each other — both different degrees of the same orange-amber colour, both bubbly. But, one has a business being in this competition and one made me kinda sad.

If someone served me a glass of Prohibition blind, with no up-front info, I might have guessed it was a pilsner having a very bad day. It’s got those sweet, corny notes and the mouthfeel I associate with pilsners but holy cats is it ever sharp. My first couple sips were overwhelmingly citric acid, and that never much died down. If there was either pumpkin or spice to be tasted under all that, I never managed it.

Howe Sound, meanwhile, makes some interesting choices with their pumpkin offering. Specifically, I’m talking about the cloves and star anise in their brew — two unusual spices choices that come through fairly strongly in the beer. I also caught notes of the other usual pie spices, ginger in particular, but it’s that very subtle, fresh hint of liquorice and clove that I’ve always noticed most in Pumpkineater.

With a number of unusual flavours and about a medium sweetness (not to mention that 8 per cent ABV), it’s the kind of beer the benefits from a slow drink to suss out all the complex flavours.


while it’s a great spiced beer, I’m not sure it seems that pumpkin-like. While I got a whiff of pumpkin on the nose, there’s not much of it in the glass, and the spice mix doesn’t immediately make me think pie the way some of the others in Pumpkindrome have. It moves on to round two, but I’ll be curious to see how it stacks up to some of our other challengers in the days ahead.

Good versus average

Prohibition Ale

That blindfolded pig is on every bottle, btw. Cheeky, Prohibition.

The Specs: Prohibition Brewing Co. (Kelowna, B.C.) Bootlegger Ale
5.5 per cent ABV, 650mL, regular series

It’s the straight-ahead, nice-enough beers that are really the hardest to write about, and such is the case with Bootlegger Ale.

After a summer featuring quite a lot of pilsner, pale ale, hefeweizen and PBR (What? You have to take something to all-night barbecues) it feels a little strange to be drinking an ale this dark.With its deep amber colour, Bootlegger feels like a properly fall beer in most respects, save its carbonation. Beer this fizzy seems like a summer concern. I’ve been having a bad week for pouring beer to begin with, but I’ve not built up a head like this on a pint in a while.

As far as taste goes, it’s fairly sweet with a bit of acidity to keep it from being fully weighed down. I wouldn’t say I found either the hops or malt of it particularly pronounced, though they’re both present and distinct.

And… that’s about it. Yup. Review over. Go home.

There’s not a thing bad about Bootlegger, but I can’t get worked up one way or another.

Were I a Kelowna-ite looking to support the local craft brew scene, I’d probably order this one with food sometimes. But, as a Kamloopsian I don’t know if I see much call to pick this one up on the regular — and no, that call has nothing to do with the supposed rivalry between the Tournament Capital and the Little Apple.

Bootlegger is the wheat bread of beer. It may be a good every day pick, but it’s not going to compete with a showcase full of macarons and cream puffs.

(That’s not entirely metaphorical, actually. Drinking it felt an awful lot like eating a slice of darker bread. Again, a perfectly pleasant job, but who writes home about the bread basket?)

Ultimately, it’s a strong enough showing that I’m happy to investigate Prohibition Brewing Co.’s other offerings, but I don’t know that I’ll be back to this well any time soon.