My quest for pumpkin beers hasn’t been going too well. I tasted Shipyard Brewing Co.’s Smashed Pumpkin two weeks ago with plans to sample many more pumpkin beers this fall. I’ve found that many pumpkin beers are only sold in six packs (or four packs in some cases) and I’m just not a big enough fan to buy that many at a time. But the search goes on and I’m hoping to get a few more in before Thanksgiving.
I recently stopped by Manzanita Brewing Co. in Santee to try their Pumpkin Ale and wasn’t disappointed. Headbrewer and Co-Founder Garry Pittman poured me a sample and I enjoyed it so much a took home a growler full.
Manzanita Brewing Co.’s Pumpkin Ale is more of an Imperial Pumpkin Ale at 9.5% ABV but it’s very easy drinking and hides it’s alcohol well. No fresh pumpkins are used to make the beer, but canned pumpkin pie mix which does include actual pumpkin is added to the boil along with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon (the pumpkin pie mix used includes all of those spices as well as cloves and allspice).
I picked up cloves and nutmeg while smelling the beer, it has a strong aroma of typical pumpkin pie spices. The taste is very much spices as well. There is a bit of sweetness from the malt and maybe a bit of ginger (I’m not sure if the pumpkin pie mix includes any additional sugar). I couldn’t taste any hops, Manzanita uses a small amount of Fuggles but the hops don’t play a big role in this beer (they don’t calculate the IBU as it’s not really important). There is a slight hint of alcohol, but it doesn’t come across as being as strong as it actually is. In addition to the spices and Fuggles hops, Maris Otter is the base grain and an English ale yeast finishes out the ingredient list.
Pittman tells me that there has been quite a demand for Pumpkin Ale. The first keg tapped in the tasting room was sold out within 7 hours between tasters, pints and growler fills. They have sold out of their first batch at the tasting room in Santee, but they’re fermenting another batch now and are hoping to keep it available until Thanksgiving. Kegs have been gone out to some bars and restaurants but I didn’t get a list of which specific locations have Pumpkin Ale.