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.