This pumpkin ale from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario is pitched with saison yeast and pours a hazy golden orange colour with a small, but frothy white head that settles as a collar and thin, moldy-looking film. The smell of Saison du Pump is vibrant with aromas of yeast and a blend of spices. A mild pumpkin tone blends with the honey-sweetened malt base to give the air of a honeydew melon.
Saison du Pump has a fairly sweet taste that quickly yields a burst of yeast and traditional pumpkin ale flavours such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove. This ale has an earthy and very yeasty body with temperate carbonation and minor oiliness. The finish has a somewhat sour funk to it before imparting a lingering, peppery dryness and hint of gourd.
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.
This flavoured wheat beer from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill Ontario is yellowish orange in colour and pours with a large, soapy white head that hangs on as a thin collar without leaving much lace. Weiss O’ Lantern has a funky and outdoorsy, but very appealing smell. Staple yeast and bubble gum aromas from its hefeweizen base are joined by notes of fresh grains, mature pumpkin, lemongrass and spices.
The taste of Weiss O’ Lantern has banana and yeast overtones and a hefty dose of orange rind. The pumpkin purée flavour is mild and a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove imparts a nice dryness. The beer has a silky smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a small burst of yeast on the tongue. The finish brings a honey sweetened malt flavour and the aftertaste has hints of the spices, along with a mild bitterness.
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.
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.