October: Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness…and pumpkin ale! This month my search for contenders for title of the best pumpkin ale continued leading me to sample Saranac Pumpkin Ale. It was my birthday after all so I chanced it and grabbed the six pack.
Shame on me for having not noted this historic brewery before now. Nestled at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in central New York State, this family run brewery has been crafting speciality ales for more than a century to some pretty high standards. The Matt Brewing Company boasts its brews are crafted “from the spirit of clear lakes, open skies and breathtaking mountain vistas”. Sounds the ideal rural setting for a pumpkin ale so let’s take a slice of this tempting piece of Americana:
The Saranac Pumpkin Ale pours a russet amber colour with a one finger pure white head. I get a whiff of malt, spice and vanilla as I pour. Not detecting much pumpkin yet but it’s a pleasant aromatic mix for the nose.
First supp delivers decent spicy notes upfront. It’s a typical pie spice mix of clove, cinnamon, and vanilla but there’s a definite taste of pumpkin that stays with you until the light bitter finish kicks in. I can detect the wheaty, bready flavour delivered by the Maris Otter (pale) malts and there’s a noted crispness which is contributed by the Cascade hops.
Verdict: A decent contender for one of the top Pumpkin Ales. You can tell it’s a quality product as it has solid flavour throughout. The pumpkin itself really features well in this one and isn’t killed by an over-abundance of other spices. At 5.4% I’d probably sup it with a meal. In my case it was sushi and it went down a treat. Nicely done but hurry go and grab it and enjoy it now because it’s a “limited release”. And watch out, because at the stroke of midnight this beer may well turn back into a pumpkin.