Smile: Uinta and Harpoon Make Two Unique Pumpkin Beers to Try

carved_pumpkin_smile

By now, pumpkin beers have been in stores for over two months and general interest may be waning – where are those winter warmers, already? – but it’s still pumpkin season to me, dammit.

I recently popped open two somewhat unique pumpkin beers that I wanted to share. Since Harpoon and Uinta have decent-sized distributions, these brews may pique your interest, especially because they don’t have a similar profile as other pumpkin beers may share.

Something I always say about pumpkin beers is they essentially all use the same ingredients, but come out remarkably different. These two stand out because they don’t necessarily follow that trend.

As always, my handy pumpkin pie rating scale makes the assist on judging these beers.

Uinta Punk’n

What sets this beer apart is its use of malt. Whereas other pumpkin beers may go for a clean finish to accentuate the spice flavor, Uinta sticks to their guns of a hearty malt base.

uinta_punkn_pumpkin_beer_beer reviewThink of it as the “crust” of this pie-influenced beer.

In addition to brown sugar and vanilla, Punk’n relies on really great caramel/toffee flavor from its malt and just a light roasted pumpkin taste.

I’d dare say that all keeps this beer a touch more “refreshing” than others, coming off with a solid amber or brown ale taste to punctuate the “pie.”

So that’s fun.

Rating: Four pie slices

pumpkin pie-pumpkin beer-beer-fall-autumn-pumpkin-four

Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin

This was very interesting. The bottle claims this is “half imperial stout, half pumpkin ale,” which is an apt description. My first impression? Pour a glass of Dogfish’s World Wide Stout, stick a pumpkin pie slice in it and there you go.

harpoon_imperial_pumpkin_beer_beer reviewThe beer had HEAVY smells of molasses and fig and at 10.5 percent, the booze was a bit hot. Oddly, I kept getting smells of bubble gum.

Here’s a fun way to think of the taste: imagine you bake a pumpkin pie over an open flame, like a campfire. I found healthy roasted notes, marshmallow, charred vegetable and more.

I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but what differentiates this pumpkin stout from other malt-heavy pumpkin beers like Fermentation Without Representation or Dark o the Moon is balance. Both those beers blended chocolate and pumpkin harmoniously whereas this simply seems like a heavy stout with pie spices and not a pumpkin beer through and through.

Interesting.

Rating: Three pie slices

pumpkin pie-pumpkin beer-beer-fall-autumn-pumpkin-three

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

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