With Halloween behind us, we welcome the holiday beers, which include lots of vanilla stouts, coffee porters and pumpkin beers. A lot of people bemoan this time of year for the beers it brings about, but I fully support it. Like the inexplicable excitement for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, I happen to think it gets people more into the holiday spirit. So, it is with excitement and hope that I find some worthwhile seasonal flavors out there that I embark on another holiday beer season.
In my seemingly never-ending quest to find a non-pie tasting pumpkin beer, I happened across a good one at Mission Brewing. They were pouring a seasonal brew “creatively” called Mission Pumpkin Amber (5% abv): It poured rich amber in color, with tiny bubbles and creamy white head. It smelled mild, malty and slightly bitter. My hope was that this bitterness came from the pumpkin, of course. It tasted just as mild and malty as the smell led me to believe. A sort of vegetal bitterness came next (again hopes were for pumpkin). The middle was still mild and light-medium-bodied, with light carbonation. It finished light and was quite refreshing, with a bit of the vegetable-like bitterness trailing. Naturally, I was amazed that flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and the like were not allowed to the party.