Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin-Can the Sampler Bounce Back?

harvest

Hello friends!  Welcome to the second installment of the Blue Moon Fall Sampler Series.  If you remember, the first member of the ensemble was not a winner in my book.  But, I won’t let that effect my judgement of the entire group.  In fact, I’m going straight into another unique, potentially gimmicky flavored beer, just to say “I believe in you, Fall Sampler!”

Today’s beer is the Harvest Pumpkin Ale. If you’ve read my Pumking Review, (you definitely should) you’ll know that I love pumpkin beers.  How will Blue Moon’s entry into the pumpkin arena fare?  Let’s find out.

Like always, the initial bottle smell comes first.  And, so far, this beer is on par with its casemate, the Caramel Apple ale.  Hopefully it’ll hold up better.  The aromas that I’m noticing are the traditional malts and slight hops that act like the base. Building up on top of that layer are spices, apples, and pumpkin, as well as a sense of freshness.  Finally, sneaking in at the end are some light, fruity notes that help hold the apple and pumpkin in place.   It’s a great combination of scents that act to promote the Harvest Pumpkin image through smell alone.

The first taste is just like the aroma.  Spiced, fruity overtones with underlying bready maltiness make up the first group of tastes to appear.  Immediately following is a slightly bitter tang that settles underneath the spices so as not to overpower the overall light taste of the beer.  The aftertaste is a warm, spiced fruit flavor that dissipates into a pleasant, lingering taste of bread.  However, there aren’t any hints of pumpkin that I can find.  The taste is more like an essence of Fall itself.  Perhaps that is what the flavors are trying to do.  There isn’t any nuttiness of pumpkin pie, as was found in the Pumking, but instead there is a spiced, fruity freshness that works quite well.

Upon pouring the rest of the bottle into a pint glass, the smell of baked apples emerge as the dominant scent.  Not an overpowering scent, but notably more prevalent than any other notes.  In fact, it seems as if the other aromas are supporting the baked apple smell.  And, finally, there are deep, buttery and nutty scents of pumpkin that hang out all the way in the back of the glass, pushing forward the spices and the fruit.

The taste is opened quite a bit as well.  Like the aroma, apple is at the forefront of the flavors.  The spices from the bottle seem to diminish slightly, but the butteriness of pumpkin makes a subtle appearence as a compliment to the apple.  Rounding everything out is our old friend, autumn leaves, just chilling in the back ground.  Perhaps this beer is where all the Caramel Apple flavors went when they found out Caramel Apple can’t throw a decent party…

Finally, when poured, this beer looks pretty, with a crisp, copper color, and a cream colored head that dissipates quite quickly.

All in all, this Harvest Pumpkin ale is a warm, cozy beer that seems to condense all of fall into a single bottle.  Whether that was the intent or not, it doesn’t really matter, because it features wonderfully pleasing tastes and aromas.  It’s a fairly cheap, seasonal beer that really gets you in the mood for fall.  It loses some marks in the taste department because, while the flavors are nice, there really isn’t a noticable pumpkin presence.  Don’t get me wrong, the flavors that are there are great, but harvest pumpkin isn’t one of them.  Additionally, the flavors don’t last as long as I would have liked them to, which led to a smidgen of disappointment, and a faster consumption of the beer, since I constantly wanted the flavor on my tongue.  Luckily, it has great drinkability, and downing it more rapidly than I had planned was still as enjoyable as sipping it.  Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale receives a B+, and my Redeemer’s Award for regaining the honor of Blue Moon after the Caramel Apple mistep.

Grading:

Taste: 4.25/5

Drinkability: 4.5/5

Price: 4/5

Lasting Strength: 4.25/5

Looks: 4.7/5

Overall: 4.35/5 B+

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