The Fall Numbers are Rolling In

If your a long time reader you know my love for Fall beers. This love dates back further than my Beerketology post in March, possibly around the First fall I could legally drink. In any event, over the past few weeks the Fall beers have been appearing on shelves, reminding us not only is the Fall season coming, but everyone is getting sick of Summer brews, and I will be the first to admit I’m not a fan of Summer brews. Here is my first report card on the early Fall offerings I have had, listed in order I had them. Like a bad school teacher, I am only giving grades A,B,C,D (No +/-).

Shipyard Pumpkinhead

This brew was the first Fall seasonal to make its way on the shelves here in the Seacoast. My girlfriend, a huge fan, and I could definitely live without it. This spicy brew doesn’t do it for me, not in the slightest. There are still some Pumpkin brews I haven’t tried (Portsmouth Brewery’s and Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin) so there could be a beverage I find less superior than Pumpkinhead, but I doubt it. The initial blast of spiciness never leaves my palette, which I am sure it great for some people, but not for me. This is a love it or hate it beer.

Grade: C

Southampton Pumpkin Ale

Hesitant to pick up a 6-pack due to the scared straight experience I had with Pumpkinhead, but I did anyway. Glad I was able to shake the bad thoguhts of Pumpkin Ales out as this is a very good, not too spicy Ale. Unlike the above, I can enjoy more than one in a sitting and I am sure this will go great with Thanksgiving dinner! This does have a kick of spice in the begining but it fades away real nicely leaving your tastebuds asking for another sip.

Grade: B

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

This is the Pumpkin Beer of all Pumpkin Beers. This is one of the 4 bottles in the Pugsley’s Signature Series and is the only one I have tried in the series thus far (tasting the Barley Wine tonight). When I first heard of Pumpkin beer way back in the day I imagined it would taste like this. This brew is all about natural pumpkin flavor that is in no way over spiced like its horse-riding, pumpkin-headed brother. You owe it to yourself to pick this up and serve it to family and friends before it leaves the shelves.

Grade: A

Red Hook Late Harvest

After getting my hands on the 3 pumpkin beers listed above, I needed a fall beer to clean the palette. At the time Octoberfest wasn’t out so I was stuck twiddling my thumbs thinking of my next move. A friend recently came to visit me and just like I do with every visitor I take them to Red Hook for the tour. Much to my surprise I sat at the bar for a pre-tour drink and saw the tap handle with the leaves and got excited. Late Harvest is Red Hook’s fall brew which has been out for longer than Pumpkinhead due to the overwhelming amount of support that had for their Summer beer, Rope Swing. When that ran out they quickly filled the tap-lines with Late Harvest and I couldn’t be happier. There is plenty of caramel malt in this beer to make the taste last long after every sip. I reccomend this to anyone in the area where you can find Red Hook, well worth the purchase.

Grade: B

Sam Adams Octoberfest

My favorite fall beer, hands down, and I challenge you to find a better Sam Adams brew. I am always open for competition in the Fall season and I don’t expect this beer to hold up against the other Fall seasonal craft brews once I get my hands on them. For now, Sam is the man of Fall, and I love it. For me, Sam Adams is best in the Fall and Winter and I don’t see that changing. On top of that there is currently a mixed 12-pack out there with Boston Lager, Dunkleweizen, Irish Red, Harvest Pumpkin, Black Lager and of course, Octoberfest. Once my current Fall supply runs out I will be heading out to grab that glorious sounding mixed pack. For now I ask you to raise a glass to Octoberfest.

Grade: A

Gritty’s Halloween Ale

I will need some more time with this one. Last week my girlfriend brought this back for me from Maine and I couldn’t get the metal taste from the bottle out of my mouth. I was dumb enough to not pour it into a glass and once I did I couldn’t find much taste to it. Luckily for you I am not a one and done beer reviewer when it comes down to it so I will hold off grading this one until the next round of Fall seasonals make their way to my fridge. First impressions were rough, leaving zero taste in my mouth after every sip. Once more chance Gritty, then I’m throwin in the towel!

Grade: (TBD)

How about you? What early Fall seasonals have you been tasting and enjoying? Any readers from outside New England want to trade some Fall brews? Let me know!