Beer: Pumpkin Blend
Brewery: Downeast Cider House (Boston, MA)
Style: Cider – Herbed/ Spiced / Hopped
5.1% ABV / N/A IBU
Whether you find pumpkin beers delightful or loathsome, they’re all essentially the same: heavy-handed with the pumpkin pie spices to carry the idea forward. There are slight variations in, say, the barre aging process that might produce different variations on the same basic theme, but what most want from their pumpkin beers is best characterized as “pumpkin pie in a bottle,” the same reason people queue up for Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks. It’s all about the Proustian sense memory of autumns and Thanksgivings past that the flavor triggers, and also the warming, hot toddy like effect that the pumpkin spices create.
Downeast Cider House’s seasonal Pumpkin Blend is none of those things, but it is terrific. For one, it’s an unfiltered cider, produced by adding mashed pumpkin to the apple press. So there’s a pleasant but not overwhelming amount of pumpkin flavor, but the sweet apple dominates. The spices are familiar enough on the nose, but way more complex than your typical pumpkin beer; the chai spice blend represents everything in the pumpkin pie blend (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves), plus cardamom, allspice, and ginger. The cardamom is mellowing, but the allspice and ginger balance this with additional spiciness that makes the tip of your tongue tingle. As for any warming effect, dunno… I finished this one too quick to notice, but appreciated the sweetness and crispness of the apple, plus its overall authenticity. Artificial flavors can sink the best pumpkin brews, but Downeast’s Pumpkin Blend is tr00.
For more info, check out Downeast Cider House here.