Sep 23, 2013

1st Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting

The Beer Czar pumpkin keg!
This passed weekend, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a pumpkin beer tasting with my good friend Masked Blogster! The event was even recorded by the Masked Blogsters podcast, Maskerpiece Theatre, Hear what people thought about each beer, and some witty banter between Liger and Masked Blogster. You can listen to the podcast here... I even jumped on the mic from time to time to give some insight, and ad what I could to what was going on.
The event was small, friendly and laid back. We tasting a total of 7 pumpkin beers, blindly. Then the participants ranked each of the beers, and at the end of the night, we tallied up the scores to come up with a list "top pumpkin beers" to recommend to you all!
Masked Blogster 
We had a panel of six tasters, grading the beer on a scale of 1 to 5, in the areas of  appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and overall. They gave each area a grade of 1 being the worst, 5 being the best, and added up the scores for each beer. We later entered those scores into a spread sheet, which averaged up the scores, and ranked them in order of highest to lowest scores, giving us a 1st through 7th place.
Bobby and Mrs Blogster getting started
So without further ado, I will go over the list of beers we tried, in the order we tried them, along with a few notes about each one that the attendee's had to say, then I will give you the rank in which each beer fell. Just a quick note, if you want to read more about the beers flavors, I provided a link to the Beeradvocate reviews for each beer, just clink the link on the beer name, and it will take you to those reviews. OK, here we go...
Daniell giving her thoughts one of the beers
1. Shipyard Pumpkinhead, Portland Maine. Pumpkin Ale, 4.7% abv. For the first beer of the evening, was described as "light in color, but smooth", "nice aroma", "subtle pumpkin-iness" "sweet" and "too sweet" , and even a "love it"!

2. Wasatch Pumpkin Seasonal Ale, Wasatch Brewing/Utah Brewers Collaborative 4% abv. Terms ranging from  "more cinnamon and spice then pumpkin", "overall, quite good", "weird taste", "subtle pumpkin, enjoyable spiceyness" all the way to "blah, not a fan at all".

3. Pumpkick, New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO, 6.0% abv. Seemed to be a popular beer at the time of the tasting, people stating "pleasant finish" and "it leaves a great after taste", and some less enthusiastic "better then #2" and "not my favorite".

4. Fall Hornin', Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Booneville, CA 6.0% abv. This was the only beer we tried in a can, and it seemed to go over well. Heard things like "a little bitter", "more like a red ale", "really good finish", "smells awesome" and even a "loved it, favorite so far!".

5. Small Batch Pumpkin Harvest Ale, Tommyknocker Brewing Company, Idaho Springs CO, 5% abv. "Smells of caramel and chocolate", "looks good, smells great...", "..getting a lot of coffee in this one", and some "light on flavor" and even a "watery taste" and "thin mouthfeel"

Mrs Czar, not impressed!
6. Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Pugsley's Signature Series, Shipyard Brewing, Portland ME, 9% abv. This one had the widest range of comments by far. Seems the group either just loved this beer, and just absolutely hated it. Most terms were either "awful", "yuck" "horrible flavor" to "wow, best so far" to a "this is awesome!". This one it seems you'll have to try for yourself to figure it out! (note, it was one of my favorites of the evening as well)

MB and Liger giving the play by play
7. Peaceful Pumpkin, Mudshark Brewing Company, Lake Havasu City, Arizona 5.2% abv, Our only local Arizona beer of the evening. Not sure if it was tasting fatigue, or the late hour, but reaction to this one was a little muted, and not very enthusiastic, but it wasn't bad either. Had a hard time gauging this one at the time of the tasting.

After the tastings was wrapped up, I tallied up the votes, and here are the results, in the order they scored, and the scores they received.

The line up!

Beer Name                                      Score
1. New Belgium Pumpkick,              16.33
2. Mudshark Peaceful Pumpkin        15.83
3. Anderson Valley's Fall Hornin'      15.5
4. Shipyard's Pumpkinhead               14.33
5. Wasatch Pumpkin Seasonal          14.00
6. Tommyknocker Small Batch         13.67
7. Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin          12.37

The group!
All in all, I think it was a pretty successful event, and we had a ton of fun! The event was recorded by the Masked Blogsters podcast, I will post a link to the podcast here as soon as it is posted! Hear what people thought about each beer, and some witty banter between Liger and Masked Blogster. I even jumped on the mic from time to time to give some insight, and ad what I could to what was going on.

Look forward to more tastings to come from the Masked Blogster and I. I am thinking maybe  "The First Annual Ugly sweater and Christmas beer tasting"??? Has a nice ring to it....

If you have an idea for a tasting, or would like to host a tasting, please contact us at and we will make those arrangements!

For a complete look at all the photos of this event, check out The Beer Czar on Facebook here, and like us while you are there!!!    (link to photo album)

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

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