Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cambridge Brewing Company - The Great Pumpkin Ale

I know, I know. It's kind of weird to do a pumpkin beer post when it's after Christmas. I debated not doing a post on this beer at all, but this one was just too good to pass up.

I'm a big fan of pumpkin beers. However, the more I try, the more I feel like every brewery is just trying to make the same beer. Some of them, like Southern Tier, do it incredibly well. Some, like Coors, do not. But, with very few exceptions, it's seemed like nearly every brewery was throwing nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and pumpkin into a brew kettle, jacking up the alcohol, and selling it as pumpkin beer. But as I recently discovered, all pumpkin ales don't have to taste the same. Just look at Cambridge Brewing Company's The Great Pumpkin.

The Great Pumpkin pours a hazy orange-ish brown color with a thin off-white head. The smell is like opening a spice cabinet, full of heavy cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Some clove was in there as well. A bit of cooked pumpkin lingered in the background. I had heard great things about this beer, but after smelling it, I wasn't confident it was going to be much better than the rest of the pumpkin beers I've tried. Then I tried a sip of it.

The beer opens with a tingling of baking spice and a touch of pumpkin flesh. Then it progresses into some flavors I've never experienced in a pumpkin beer before: fresh grassy hops and a bunch of pale malt. The intensity of the hops was something I'm more used to in a pilsner, not a fall beer. A light mouthfeel helped the hops and pumpkin flavors to work together incredibly well, resulting in a beer that feels like the child of a pumpkin beer and a blonde ale. At a mere 4.4%, this beer is a baby in the pumpkin beer category, but it is one tasty, tasty baby. I can't say I liked this more than Pumking, but this was a really great beer and a fresh new take on the style.  A huge thanks to my sister, Melina, for picking this up for me in Boston!

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 44

Note: This is probably the last post I will get in this year. Thank you all for your support. It's been a great year for this blog and I and I can't wait to see what beers come across our path in 2013. Have a happy and safe holiday and look for a "Best of 2012" post coming very soon. Cheers!


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