It’s no secret that I am a bit obsessed with The Phantom Gourmet. One of the segments they do that I have always found useful is something called “top of the food chain” where they take 4 or 5 variations of similar products and rate them in order from best to worst. I have discovered some great products from this segment and I decided to put together one of my own.
This food chain parody is about beer. Fall seasonal beers to be exact! I have sampled 10 variations of this fall classic over the past few months, and I have made an effort to rate these beers based on their taste.
Remember that 6 pack I got from Julio’s Liquors?
Well I finally finished the last of the beer and have compiled my thoughts, along with my opinions on almost every seasonal beer I have consumed this season. I am certainly no beer connoisseur, but I drink beer, and I have my opinions. So like it or not, here they come.
Post Road Pumpkin
I clearly did a terrible job pouring this beer, but as you can see it was a light caramel color with a large head. I’m going to be honest, I took about 2 sips and gave it to Nolan. I was not a fan at all! It was very allspice-y and it just didn’t do it for me. It was overly hoppy, surprisingly heavy and not very drinkable for me. I wish I had more to say, but in my notes I took it just says one word-“yuck”.
Wachusett brewing company is local. I LOVE their blueberry ale, so I figured I’d give their Octoberfest a try! Eh- It was good, but not pumpkin-y enough for my liking. I know it’s not a pumpkin beer, but when I think of fall flavors I think pumpkin. Apple was a dominant flavor in this brew. It was hoppy, but very sweet at the same time. It reminded me more of a cider than a beer.
Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin Ale
This beer was an amber color with no head. This beer was a bit bland and tasted a bit flat. It certainly smelled and tasted like a typical pumpkin beer with nodes of cinnamon and nutmeg but honestly, it was nothing special. I wouldn’t get it again.
This beer pours an amber color with a very small head that dissipates quickly. It smells a bit sweet and reminded me of pumpkin pie. It was smooth and drinkable, but nothing outstanding. It was a bit watered down, and probably not something I would ever buy again.
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
This beer is very thick and creamy. The pumpkin flavor isn’t in your face, but it is definitely present. It’s not very sweet, and it has great spice flavor. It has a real hoppy aftertaste, but it’s not unpleasant. This is one of those brews that I could have one or two of and be full. I actually used this beer to make my pumpkin beer bread and it worked very well!
I was excited to try this beer because, well, it looked cool. I could immediately smell cinnamon and spice when I poured this beer. It’s a reddish brown color with a thicker head than the others. I was expecting it to be overly hoppy but it was actually smooth with a creamy consistency and it doesn’t taste quite as sweet as it smells. The spices are a bit more overpowering than the pumpkin flavors, so it tasted a bit more like a harvest beer than a pumpkin beer. I would certainly get this beer again!
There is a pretty big gap between #4 and # 5. This beer is 5 times better than those who came before it. This beer is a light copper color. It has fantastic pumpkin spice flavor but it’s not over the top. It’s not overly hoppy so it’s very drinkable. It’s like a pumpkin flavored Bud Light, but a tad heavier. It actually tastes a lot like Wachusett Pumpkin in my opinion. It’s a safe, subtle pumpkin beer, but it’s not fantastic.
I love Wachusett blueberry beer, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Wachusett Octoberfest so I wasn’t sure what to expect from their pumpkin ale. I was immediately pleasantly surprised by the smooth taste with nodes of nutmeg, and a sweet cinnamon flavor. It has a pleasant pumpkin after taste that gives this beer a nice balance. It’s a very drinkable beer and I was wishing I had a second.
Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
I feel a bit biased here. Shock Top is one of my favorite beers. I have yet to try one I didn’t love, and this one is certainly no different. It’s a light copper color and it’s very drinkable It’s a great drinking beer for watching football and enjoying snacks. It’s not too filling, and it complements food well. It’s crisp and refreshing and it is a go-to pumpkin beer for sure!
#1 Top of the Food Chain
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
After much debate and sampling, this is my favorite fall seasonal beer. Its got great pumpkin flavor that is not overpowering or overly sweet. Because it’s a harvest brew, it has a diverse flavor range that balances together very well. It’s a mesh of wheat, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg. This beer is smooth and drinkable but it’s a bit heavier than the other that had similar taste profiles, so it doesn’t taste watered down. It has a welcomed after taste of pumpkin that leaves you wanting more!
I would love to hear your opinions of some great pumpkin beers you have sampled over the fall season!