Another pumpkin beer. This one was by Nickel Brook Brewing Company (Burlington, Ont.) which I’ve tried a couple of beers from previously. I haven’t been thrilled with their beer in the past – kind of a good but not great selection of beer. Similarly, I have yet to find a pumpkin flavoured beer that is great. I love pumpkin but that love doesn’t seem to transfer into pumpkin beer.
The “Pie Eyed Pumpkin Ale” fell about middle of the road in terms of pumpkin beer. It poured a hazy copper colour with minimal head and smelt fairly strongly of spice. The taste was predominately spice (cinnamon, all spice, cardamon) with a little bit of malt. The spice wasn’t crazy strong but the balance didn’t quite do it for me. It wasn’t really the flavour mix I associate with pumpkin and felt more like just a bottle of spices tossed together. It was good but not really pumpkin at all.
It’s fall! My favourite time of year. I love the changing colours in the trees, the approach of Thanksgiving, cozy warm sweaters, boots, and pumpkin pie. My love of pumpkin is pretty deeply rooted – it has been my go to request instead of cake at my birthday for as long as I can remember. Conveniently, my birthday is right around Canadian Thanksgiving so pumpkin pie is usually easy to come by.
In recent years there has been a bit of an explosion of pumpkin spice or pumpkin flavoured things. Hot and cold pumpkin beverages abound – though I’ve found they often miss the mark in taste and pumpkin qualities. Despite former letdowns I recently picked up a Pumpkin Ale by Great Lakes Brewery.
The beer poured a slightly orange-red colour with minimal head. It smells like a great mixture of pumpkin and spices – namely nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. The taste wasn’t bad, it didn’t fall into the common pumpkin beer problem of being a mouthful of way too many spices. The pumpkin wasn’t all the prominent but it was a good tasting beer with a slightly pumpkin note. This was surprisingly light and subtle a good beer if you’re looking for something fall inspired but not hit you in the face pumpkin.
The most recent beer of the month delivery included two beers from Strathroy Brewing. We’ve had a few beers from this particular brewer in the past as part of the beer of the month club and didn’t mind them. This month’s selections were a similar experience — they were decent but didn’t stick out in my mind as fantastic.
The 1915 Longwoods Lager poured a pale yellow with minimal head. It had a clean taste to it with a slightly citrus note and was very smooth for a lager. No harsh aftertaste or bitter notes. Fairly run of the mill but perfect on a sunny day. Andrew and I enjoyed the first sample of this beer under a shady tree in Muskoka chairs – perfect drink for that kind of afternoon.
The 1815 Peace Wheat ale was a much darker colour than I would have anticipated. It was also slightly bitter which is a bit unusual for a Belgian style ale. There was a malt note and a very flight bit of hops in the taste. Similar to the Longwoods Lager this was a very smooth drinking selection that was good but not exceptional.
Back to beer blogging! Two of this month’s selections came from Stonehammer Brewing in Guelph, Ontario. Formerly known as F & M Brewery, Stonehammer has been around since 1995 and all of their beers are made using spring water from Guelph’s artesian wells.
The first Stonehammer brew I tried this month was the Queen’s English Mild Ale. It poured a dark almost black mahogany with almost no head. Judging by their website this was a one-off specialty brew that was available for a a limited time. Though the description mentioned hops I didn’t really get a hops smells or taste with this one — the malt flavour and caramel notes took precedence.
Despite this being a dark beer than my standard fair I really enjoyed it. It was flavourful enough without being overbearing – and is the type of beer that both Andrew and I could agree upon. I’m looking forward to trying the Red Male Ale that also came from Stonehammer Brewing.