Squire Scotch Ale from The Cannery Brewing Company in Penticton, British Columbia pours a deep, golden-amber colour with a frothy off-white head that leaves moderate lacing and settles as a thin film and collar. Aromas of peat moss, light but sharp caramel malts, musty wood and smoke come through, along with a warm floral hop character.
Squire Scotch Ale has a thick, butterscotch-like malt flavour with a strong wood character and a grassy hop accent that brings crispness with it. This beer is nicely balanced and not bitingly sweet like many Scotch ales. A full body and mild carbonation contribute to a creamy and somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. The finish has a mild bitterness while peat and smoke linger in the heavy aftertaste.
Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale from Mill Street Brewery in Toronto, Ontario pours a hazy and warm ruby-amber colour with a moderate light beige head that leaves spotty lacing and gets retained as a thin collar. This wheat-based pumpkin ale smells of grain, sweet malts, pumpkin and spices such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. A bitter chocolate-coffee aroma becomes apparent after warming.
Spices are at the forefront of the taste of Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale and create a crisp bite, with a sweet pumpkin flavour behind that and an earthy and grainy backing. Vanilla comes through on the tongue and coupled with the spice blend reminds me somewhat of Dr. Pepper for a moment.
Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale is fairly thin, but wheat character and fine carbonation give it a nice, lively body. There is a surprising mild sourness in the finish before going dry. Vanilla, pumpkin and spice all remain prevalent in the aftertaste, along with a mild syrupy feeling.
This old style stout from the Samuel Smith Old Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England pours an opaque black with ruby tones visible around the edges when held up to direct light. The tan coloured head is very frothy and leaves a fair about of lace before settling as a collared film. Samuel Smith’s Celebrated Oatmeal Stout has an aroma dominated by molasses, with notes of chocolate syrup and coffee as well as a fairly pungent, yet mild ripened fruit smell.
The taste of Samuel Smith’s Celebrated Oatmeal Stout is fairly bitter up front with notes of baker’s chocolate and coffee in addition to a slight smokey wood tone. The finish brings a subtle and slightly sweet plum-like taste. The beer is full-bodied with a mild, but distinct carbonation level and the mouthfeel is extraordinarily smooth and creamy. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with notes of oatmeal and wood.
Pumking from the Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York pours a clear golden-amber colour with a scant white head that sticks around as a thin collar, but leaves no lacing behind. This strong pumpkin ale has more of a pumpkin pie aroma than any other pumpkin ale I’ve tried to date; it has a real buttery pastry tone that compliments the pumpkin and spices nicely. Freshly cut grains and honey poke through after warming.
The taste of Pumking is nicely balanced between the pumpkin and the dry, peppery spice notes. Again, a pastry-like butter flavour defines the taste and makes it distinctive amongst pumpkin ales. The finish is peppery and bitter. The mouthfeel is on the thin side with a low, but noticeable carbonation. A grainy note comes through on the tongue and the aftertaste is dry tasting, but also has a syrupy quality. Pumking is extraordinarily smooth and drinkable given its ABV.
This strong pumpkin ale from the Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine pours a hazy golden-copper colour with a moderate white head that burns off quickly, leaving a small collar and almost no lace behind. Smashed Pumpkin has a syrupy and noticeably boozy aroma with notes of wet grain, pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The beer takes on a sharp white wine-like smell as it warms.
The taste of Smashed Pumpkin is on the malty side with a very sweet honey tone and a hint of yeast. The pumpkin and spice flavours both rich and surprisingly balanced. The finish is quite bitter with floral, soapy and alcohol notes. This beer is full-bodied with an above average carbonation level and gives off a creamy, bready effect on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry, but syrupy and alcohol lingers on the back of the tongue and throat.