Continuing right along with my seasonal tastings I sampled Jolly Pumpkin’s la Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Ale –finally the brewery with pumpkin in their name brings out a pumpkin beer (ha ha) I am sure they have never heard that one. No. 1 Pumpkin pours a deep golden colour; it has a strong lingering head and is opaque in the glass with lots of sediment settling to the bottom. This beer is quite strong and heavy on the spice element. I would say there is almost a Saison quality to it. The finish has a subtle sweetness and the taste of cloves comes through. In the 750ml size this beer made a great sharer but I am not sure I could finish a bottle on my own. Overall this ale was a unique take on the pumpkin theme.
Out of a possible five I would give this ale a 4.0
Nothing marks the turn of the seasons like the arrival of fall and winter seasonals at the beer store; pumpkin, spice, chocolate and vanilla flavours abound in bottles adorned with deep coloured labels signalling the onset of cold weather and fire places. Feeling somewhat autumnal –but not Christmasal- I decided to try out Granville Island’s limited edition Pumpkin Ale. This beer pours a cloudy orange with very little head that quickly dissipates. There is also little to no lacing on the sides of the glass. I found this ale to have a somewhat sour quality on first tasting, not like a lambic or a Flemish, but something I couldn’t quite place perhaps the ‘earthy undertone’ described on the label. In the same vein, I found the spiciness to be somewhat lacklustre. Overall this really just tasted like somewhat tart, somewhat strong ale with nothing to set it apart as pumpkin per se (short of the label of course). I expect pumpkin ales to have strong distinct notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves coupled with a discernable pumpkin taste; basically pureed pumpkin pie lovingly tempered with strong ale. Disappointingly this will definitely not be a repeat for purchase me…I await Lions Winter Ale with bated breath.
Out of a possible five I would give this ale a 2.5
Update: Liking this pumpkin offering but not loving it I tried out a few other Autumn inspired brews. Elysian, much like Granville Island, suffered from that all too common shortcoming of flavoured beers by having too little of the featured ingredient to make an impact. A nice spiced ale in it’s own right but not memorable. What was memorable was Steamworks pumpkin ale. Seriously this was like drinking pumpkin pie in a glass; it was sweet with cinnamon and hot with clove and nutmeg elements. Fantastic!