Beer of the Week: Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale

Beer of the Week - Laurelwood Pumpkin AleThis Pumpkin Ale was formerly named “Laurelwood Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale.” To keep things straight, it’s still the same recipe, but according to the brewery’s website someone else has the rights to the name “Stingy Jack” so the beer now sports a slightly modified label and has been renamed to “Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale.”

Founded in 2001 and located in Portland, Oregon, Laurelwood Brewing Co. is a family-owned business run by a husband and wife team. To create their pumpkin ale, they start with a strong ale recipe for a nutty amber beer, then add pumpkin, squash and a pumpkin pie spice blend to the mix during the brewing process. This is what produces the warm and spicy nose that makes this particular pumpkin ale so great!

Appearance: Hazy, deep, reddish amber with minimal head.

Smell: Very aromatic pumpkin ale; spicy with hints of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg; subtle pumpkin.

Taste: Good balance between spicy and pumpkin flavors, and leans a bit more towards the spicy side. It’s malty but not too sweet. Balanced in a very drinkable way.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and creamy mouthfeel. The body also contributes to its drinkability.

Overall: I love a good pumpkin ale, and I’m also very picky about my favorites. I’d say this one can claim a spot in my top ten. Southern Tier’s Pumking still dominates as my ultimate favorite pumpkin ale, but I would definitely drink the Laurelwood one again. It’s one of the better ones from the West coast I tried this season.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.69 / 5

Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 12
Original Gravity: 17° Plato
Malts: Unknown
Hops: Unknown
Special Ingredients: Pumpkin, squash and pumpkin pie spices
Availability: Seasonal
Food Pairings: Why not give this a try with some pumpkin pie?
Glassware: Pint glass
Aging: N/A

Where to get it: I picked my bottle up at Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA



Beer of the Week: Three Floyds Gumballhead

Beer of the Week - Three Floyds GumballheadThis week’s featured beer is one of my all-time favorites, Gumballhead from Three Floyds Brewing – which incidentally is also one of my all-time favorite breweries. They produce some very high quality brews.

Gumballhead is an American Wheat Ale and is actually named in honor of an underground comic book cat character called Gumballhead that was created by Rob Syers. Initially a seasonal summer beer, it is now brewed year round due to demand. It’s brewed with Amarillo Hops and a lot of American red wheat, which gives it a complex hop aroma with notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, marmalade and peach. According to Three Floyds – “These flavors combined with low bitterness make Gumballhead a refreshing American Wheat Beer that doesn’t suck.”

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear, light amber with a nice frothy head that retains around the glass and leaves a lot of nice lacing.

Smell: Hoppy-smelling for a wheat beer with definite notes of pine and citrus and some nice, malty undertones.

Taste: Excellent brew; awesome mixture of flavors, very well-balanced and smooth. There are strong but balanced hops upfront that transition to more of the citrus, grapefruit sweetness that then finishes on a slightly dry, hoppy note.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth and creamy; makes you lick your lips after you drink. The carbonation is very balanced with the body of the beer.

Overall: I typically don’t like the general category of wheat beers but this one is definitely special. I could easily drink more than one of these without thinking twice. I’ve been fortunate enough to have it on a few separate occasions and each every time it just proves to me how good it really is. One of the best beers in this category I’ve had and it would take something pretty special to change my opinion on that.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.00 / 5

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.60%
IBUs: 35
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts: American Red Wheat
Hops: Armarillo
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Year-round
Food Pairings: Latin American or German dishes; Cheese (earthy; Camembert, Fontina) General (Salad) Meat (Poultry)
Glassware: Pint Glass (or Becker, Nonic, Tumbler), Mug (or Seidel, Stein), Weizen Glass
Aging: Definitely drink this one soon after acquiring for optimal freshness.

Where to get it:
You pretty much have to go the Three Floyds brewpub to pick up bottles of this beer; you won’t find bottles of it distributed in Ohio. It does, however, pop up on draft randomly from time to time. The best way to hear about it when it does is to follow most of local bars and restaurants on Facebook that are known to carry good draft beer selections.