Highballer Pumpkin Ale from Grand River Brewing in Cambridge, Ontario pours a clear golden-copper colour with a small but frothy white head that leaves a solid, long-lasting collar, but little lace. This ale smells warm and inviting, with aromas of ripe pumpkin, honey, toasted malts and grasses.
The taste of Highballer Pumpkin Ale is also pumpkin forward. There is a lovely, light and fruity ale underneath with a sweet caramel tone. Grassy, floral hops bring earthy and tart characteristics, as well as a mild orange pekoe tea flavour. The ale is full-bodied with low carbonation and a dry, cracker-like character on the tongue. There are subtle pepper and allspice notes present throughout that comes forward in the finish and aftertaste.
The story behind the name of Highballer Pumpkin Ale made for an interesting bit of research. “High Baller” is railroad terminology that refers to an express train. The beer got its inspiration from a large train wreck that occurred in the town of Galt, Ontario in 1956 involving two trains powered by four locomotives between them and some 14 crew, two of whom perished that November night.
The label of Highballer Pumpkin Ale is different than most Grand River Brewing beers in that it has images of a locomotive and pumpkin in addition to a simple orange wordmark. You will find an ingredients list and clearly stamped freshness dating as well.
Highballer Pumpkin Ale quickly became one of my favourite fall seasonals. The pumpkin flavour shines against a really solid ale rather than spice dominating the experience. It’s great with (or in) a fall stew, crusty bread and roasted meats.
You can find Highballer Pumpkin Ale on LCBO shelves beginning in early fall or visit Grand River Brewing the next time you’re in Cambridge.
Type: Pumpkin Ale
Region: Ontario, Cambridge
Brewery: Grand River Brewing
Format Purchased: 500 mL
Alcohol Content: 5.2%