Marshall's Mugs: Shipyard Pumpkinhead
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 23:09
Pumpkin ales are raging with popularity throughout the East Coast. Between Oktoberfest and pumpkin, there is not a more popular style in the fall.
This week’s seasonal brew will focus on Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale. Shipyard Brewing Co., which is located in Portland, Maine, has crafted their pumpkin-style brew since 2002. It can be found through the northeast from September to October.
Shipyard uses a 2-Row British Pale Ale malt, along with malted wheat and a light Munich-malted blend. Hallertau and Willamette hops give the beer a spicy aroma that pairs well with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour the beer into a traditional-style pint or pilsner glass. As it pours, you will see the golden-pumpkin color rise to the top of the glass. The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg will really smack you in the face as your nose tips into the glass.
On the first sip the spiciness is well-noted, but there are hints of pumpkin flavor throughout. It is definitely a lighter style due to its smoothness and drinkability.
Pair this beer with a turkey BLT or of course, drink it after dinner with a pumpkin pie. This light spicy ale is really nice when you are sitting outside in the cool autumn air or on a warmer day with the sun shining.
It is really impossible to determine the best pumpkin beer because it varies on the drinker’s preference. They range from spicy with slight hints of pumpkin to double-pumpkin-pudding style beers. My preference falls more towards double pumpkin side of harvest ales. However, Shipyard does a middle-ground pumpkin ale that falls in-between spicy and pumpkiny.
Shipyard was not my favorite version of pumpkin ale. However, they do provide a video on their website to mix things up a little bit.
They suggest you rim the glass with caramel syrup then dip it in brown sugar or cinnamon sugar to enhance the beer with the flavors of the season.
Next, add hard alcohol. Whipped cream vodka will make it taste more like a pumpkin pie. Vanilla vodka has the same affect. Adding Southern Comfort to the ale makes it complex due to the flavors in the bourbon and Captain Morgan really brings out the caramel and brown sugar flavors in the pumpkin ale.
However, my favorite is the pumpkin bomb; take a half pint of Pumpkinhead and then drop a half shot of pineapple vodka and Bailey’s Irish Cream, in a manner similar to an Irish Car Bomb. Or you can do a half Guinness and half pumpkin for the chocolate pumpkin.
That being said, it still wasn’t my favorite pumpkin beer. If you would like to try something with more spice, buy Dogfish Head Punkin and if you like the creamy pumpkin pie taste, try Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale.
Quick Review (all out of 5)
TASTE: 3.5 The onslaught of cinnamon and nutmeg is really nice with a smooth finish of pumpkin at the end, however, not my favorite.
FEEL: 4 Really light and refreshing body, which is a nice switch for a pumpkin ale.
LOOK: 4 The golden-pumpkin color shows the lightness of the beer as well as its intentions of pumpkin flavors. Not too much carbonation, just as pumpkin ales should.
SMELL: 5 Wow, the combination of hops and spices is refreshing on the nose, and definitely my favorite part of the beer.
OVERALL: 3.5 This is just my preference of pumpkin beers showing. Overall, I wasn’t super impressed, although the video online really does give you a variety of ways to enjoy.