Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

I will be the first one to tell you I don't know much about beers, ales, wines, and so on.  But I do know that I enjoy Samuel Adams' annual seasonal beers (especially the Winter Ale), and like to have at least one if someone buys some.  When I found out that the beer maker puts out a Pumpkin Ale every year, I just had to try it. 
Even the package is attractive.
When we went to the beer distributor while running on our errands for a recent camping trip, we discovered that they had an entire Harvest Collection.  It was $33 for a case, plus tax.  So instead of making a separate trip for me to Wegmans to get a six pack, we bought up an entire case of variety harvest-themed beers. 

The collection contains: Bonfire Rauchbier, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Boston Lager, OctoberFest, Black Lager, and Irish Red.

I tried three of the six beers, starting (of course!) with the Harvest Pumpkin Ale.

My first thought upon trying it is that it tasted like, well, Sam Adams.  I guess my taste buds aren't very fine-tuned to different beers between the same manufacturer. Because I don't drink very much, it gave me that nice warm feeling in my belly right away. 

I tried to taste the pumpkin (it claims that each batch is made with eleven pounds of pumpkin), but couldn't taste it.  I did taste the spices of pumpkin pie (cinnamon, cloves), and I could smell and taste the malt, which almost smelled like fresh baked bread.  It's a heavy beer (to me) and I didn't completely finish my bottle, despite enjoying it.  My husband, who enjoys and consumes beer more than I do, said that he really liked it and could taste the pumpkin.
The next one I just had to try was OctoberFest in the evening.  I had about half of this one.  It is a deep red which is "reflective of the season."  It is definitely a heavy winter-type beer.  Again, I don't know much about beers, but could taste the malt.  Turns out, it is made with five roasts of malts.  It was very slightly sweet and a testiment to the season.
Another one I tried - half in the early afternoon and the rest with dinner - was Bonfire Rauchbier in honor of our own bonfire.  I honestly couldn't taste much of a difference between that and OctoberFest.  Their descriptions on the Sam Adams websites are very similar, describing them as "smoky" and with hints of "toffee and caramel."  So at least I know I'm not crazy into thinking that they tasted almost the same.  Not bad, just very similar.

I would buy this again next year if we go camping in October.  These spicy beers in their attractive fall packaging really set the tone for camping by the fire on a cool autumn day.  As far as the pumpkin ale goes, I hear that there are better pumpkin beers out there.  I don't think that I will try them, but I am glad I tried Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale.


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  1. I love beer but have been trying not to drink it cause I am trying hard to lose weight! It is something I like to drink here and there and we actually went to Boston to go to the brewery (I love Sam Adams) The Winter Ale and October fest are my favorites. I did not realize they had a harvest pack now I need to go find it!

  2. Calories are one of the many reasons I generally don't drink, and low-fat beers aren't even worth the calories, haha. We found our's at a regular beer distributor.

  3. I agree that it is hard for a non-beer drinker to distinguish between flavors, as they are very subtle (usually). I worked at a brewery in college and we served a delicious pumpkin ale that was very pumpkin-y! I'm going to hunt down a harvest pack, I didn't know they had that one!

  4. Good, so glad I'm not crazy! Overall, they just tasted like Sam Adams to me. Definitely get the Harvest Collection if you can find it!