As you may already know, I am currently employed at Trader Joes. As you may also know, the beer selection at Trader Joes is pretty terrible. It's not that we have nothing good, it's that we never try to bring in new things, which is weird for a company like Trader Joes. Instead of keeping breweries like North Coast (the makers of some fantastic beers like Red Seal and Old Rasputin) on the shelves, the company decided to drop the lesser known breweries for ones like Corona (makers of Corona Light). Every time I look at our beer section, a tiny part of me dies. But I digress...
October means one "new" thing for the Trader Joes beer section- Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale. Usually, I'm not crazy about pumpkin beers and I remembered not liking this one last year. Still, I decided to take one home and give it a second chance.
The beer pours a clear golden color with a decent white foam head. The smell was way better than I remembered a year ago- full of pumpkin pie aromas. I didn't smell a lot of "pumpkin" in the beer, but it still smelled like a pumpkin pie somehow- lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
The taste definitely surprised me. It held up to the smell well and the spiciness was definitely the main element. There was a lot of sweetness from the spices, but still not a lot of pumpkin. Other than that, this beer was a bit one dimensional as there was no hint of hops and little evidence of malts. As the beer warmed, it became kind of bad and started to taste more like Bud Light. The mouthfeel was pretty thin throughout, but it didn't bother me as much when the beer was cold. This is pretty much one you need to slam when it's cold because once it gets warm, you might want to not do anything with it but water the plants. Overall though, it's not a bad interpretation of the style and I will probably have to get it again when it rolls through next year.
Final Grade: B-