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Microbrew Review of the Day


I picked up this 6-pack of this NY craft beer on a whim as an appetizer for the planned bone-in ribeye dinner.

There were loads of other harvest/pumpkin ales on the shelf, so I have to admit the packaging sucked me in. Working outside all year makes you crave the summer during the winter cold – and the fall during the summer heat – so I’m all in on the “Beers of October.”   I can’t say for sure whether or not my cat, Miss Ann Arbor Blue (Yes, that’s her real name) is an expert craft beer taster, but after one curious lick of it she went back for more.

Style – Pumpkin Ale

ABV – 5.4%

Appearance – Pours a medium amber color with a slightly more orange tint in good light. The head is slightly off-white, creamy and firm; it leaves a nice lace in it’s wake.

Aroma – Complex on multiple inhales. Unlike many of the “pumpkin” microbrews that carry more spice than pumpkin, this one has pumpkin front and center. It’s balanced by an unidentifiable sweetness, a hint of earthiness and a playful little handful of allspice and, seemingly, mace in the background.

Taste – The malt is prevalent early with loads of pumpkin in the aftertaste. I know it’s a bit corny, but I like to cup my tongue and kind of “aerify” the beer with a slurping inhale. (A trick learned from one Jim Koch during a tour) doing so here hits you with a load of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Overall – Highly recommended as the Saranac Pumpkin is a solid and drinkable craft beer. Most pumpkin ales have an overbearing amount of spice and seem off-balance; more like pumpkin pie. This is a true pumpkin ale. I plan on stashing a few of these in a corner of the win cellar so I have them available to me all the way through football season.



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  One Response to “Craft Beer Review – Saranac Pumpkin Ale”

  1. First I want to admit that I came in with very low expectations for the Saranac Pumpkin Ale. Although I respect John Paul’s taste in the sweet nectar (minus his original take on my favorite beer), I originally believed every so-called “Pumpkin Ale” paled in comparison to the Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking. You see, the King is not only my favorite pumping beer, but one of my top 5 beers.

    That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Saranac’s offering. The best way I can describe it is King Lite. Although it is not as enjoyable as the King, it is the best non-King beer I’ve had to date (and I’ve tried many, many wannabes). Unlike many other pumpking beers, Saranac’s doesn’t taste like a glorified Octoberfest. As JP stated above, you can taste nutmeg, cinnamon, and also cloves and vanilla (I like your tongue-cup method).

    Overall, a nice offering from Saranac. Actually, the best offering from Saranac in my opinion. But for my money, nothing is as delicious, complex, and just plain awesome as the King.

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