In continuation of comparing how the east coast makes pumpkin ales differently from the west coast comes the second round of the competition. (Please read the first round here.) For the second and final round (Halloween will be over and done with come this Saturday, after all), two beers will go head-to-head. For the east coast, Boston-faithful brewery Samuel Adams has been chosen with their “Fat Jack” pumpkin ale. It will go against little known Temecula, California brewery Black Market and their “Superstition” batch. Let the battle begin!
Sam Adam’s “Fat Jack”
Sam Adam’s “Fat Jack” pours a dark brown color, looking quite muddy. It smells of liquorice, malt, and candy, to go along with a crisp, medium body. Taste-wise, it’s reminiscent of sweet cornbread, with a touch of spice and cinnamon. Gravy also makes a strange appearance, leading to an interesting – if not very odd – drinking experience. If you try hard enough, you might also spot a bit of a smoked turkey taste to it, as well. A very big and bold taste, but not particularly special, either. A fine beer to try once, as long as you go in not hell-bent on wanting to taste actual pumpkin. In that department, look elsewhere.
Black Market’s “Superstition”
Black Market’s “Superstition” has a lighter, amber brown color; almost like it were dirty tap water. The nose has the scents of fresh pumpkin, spice, cinnamon, corn and almost a hint of citrus, too. It is a very light and easy-to-drink beer, going down smooth. It has a nice mix of sweet and spice with its taste, to go along with its very pleasant smell. “Superstition” is much more pumpkin pie-like that the “Fat Jack,” but it doesn’t bombard you with pumpkin sweetness as to be distracting. It mixes in nicely with its tangy blast of spicy flavors that hit you hard at the front, and lead to a smooth and mild finish. This beer goes perfect for that cool fall day in the pumpkin patch as you search for that perfect squash.
And the winner is…
Because “Superstition” actually tastes like pumpkin, it wins this head-to-head, and thus, the west coast wins this round, and wins overall in the pumpkin competition. Although, out of the six beers sampled for this little battle, the east coast wins the “Beer I Would Buy Again” award with Shipyard’s “Smashed Pumpkin.” However, the west coast had the better brews overall, and are crowned the superior coast when it comes to crafting delicious pumpkin brews.
Now go out and get some! And have a Happy Halloween!