A few years ago I was brave and decided to take a trip to Nova Scotia with my parents. It was an amazing trip - we ate lobster, went to a fish smoke house, tried scrapple and I visited the Halifax breweries. My favorite of the breweries was Propeller and at the time they had just come out with their very popular pumpkin ale. I grabbed a 6-pack and a couple of others that I thought looked interesting. I didn't try the pumpkin ale till I got home and if I had known it was going to be that good I would have bought more.
I've ignored the pumpkin ales at the LCBO since trying Propeller's version thinking 'they couldn't be as good, so why bother?' This year I'm bothering. I've bought four of the pumpkin ales available at the LCBO and I've gone to the Clocktower Brewpub which brews their own. I'm determined to see if any of the brews can compare to the Halifax pumpkin ale or if I have to make a return visit next year.
I started with the pumpkin ale brewed and served at the Clocktower Pub. It's available on cask which means it's unfiltered, unpasteurised and served without additional carbon dioxide pressure. It arrives on the table with a mocha coloured head which has been sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. When you go in for your first sip you're overwhelmed by the aroma but the flavour of the beer is very mild. To get technical, it ranks a 15 on the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) scale and contains 4.8% alcohol by volume (ABV).
I liked it and I did enjoy two pints with my lunch but I wouldn't drink it regularly. I wanted more flavour; for the taste to match the big aroma. I also didn't enjoy how the spices added to the head left a gritty feel in my mouth. This isn't the pumpkin ale for me, luckily I have four more to try.