I bloody love Halloween. I also love beer. Halloween beer should be perfect, yes?
No. Not really.
These two American pumpkin beers seem to everywhere at the minute, and my belly is no exception, nor is this blog.
And so to Red Hook, and their Pumpkin Porter. At first it smells of a decent, if light, straight-up porter, with the same to taste. After a while though, the sweet cinnamon, nutmeg spiciness takes over, and even though it's a pleasant novelty for a few sips, it starts to get sticky and overpowering in the end. All the while that roastiness of the decent base porter struggles to get tasted, but not with great success. Try it with pumpkin pie for total American Halloween immersion. It's not a totally bad experience, but money could be better spent elsewhere.
Post Road Pumpkin Ale is the other pumpkin beer new to our shops, this one from Brooklyn Brewery. It's a better beer all round, with more clove-y spiciness and less cheap allspice, while the palate gets a decent tickle of bitterness to go with it. The backbone is a nice biscuity caramel malt that props up the cinnamon and clove admirably, while the beer as a whole is very drinkable. Even more so with a cinnamon-heavy apple pie courtesy of my better half. Oh yes.
Pumpkin beers are worth a go, if only for the short-lived novelty factor, but I think when I try my next, I'll look closer to home...