The Gourd Standard

Flying Dog Brewery

Appearance

This pours a caramel color and produces at least a finger of frothy, barely off-white head. It’s retention is good and there’s signs of some spectacular lacing to come. It is practically clear and shows moderate carbonation in its body.

Aroma

I get notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove at the nose. These sit on top of equal parts malt and mild hops. Mixed somewhere between its base and its spice profile are bright notes of a vegetal pumpkin ingredient.

Taste

The front is defined by a spice profile that is seemingly dominated by nutmeg and clove. Portions of cinnamon and allspice are present every so often. The base starts off as a balanced foundation of malt and hops however as I make my way to the back it becomes skewed in favor of a bitter hops. The back shows hints of vegetal pumpkin and spice however the bitter hops aspect tends to┬áremain in the spotlight. The aftertaste thankfully evens out the flavor with a bit more sugar and an nice but mild pumpkin spice flavor. It’s a dynamic taste that’s derived mostly from its foundation, not the spices unlike many other options.

Mouthfeel

This is medium-bodied and has moderate carbonation. It’s crisp, clean and has a light bite on the palate thanks to the hops and spices. It’s wet when going down and dry afterwards.

Overall

One of the best things about this option is the fact that its entire experience revolves around hops. All too often pumpkin ales are reliant on the sweetness of a malty base. It’s acidic, hoppy character meshes decently with the pumpkin spices. Though the pumpkin itself is present it stays mild. Yet neither the pumpkin nor the spices are ever overpowered by the aggressive hops, which is impressive. Those expecting a graham cracker-like, sugary experience might be let down. However I applaud it’s fair balance and distinct attempt at anchoring on the hops portion of the beer experience.

3.5