WHILE MANY BREWERIES across the US embrace pumpkin ale as an excuse to put pie into a pint, those in the original Thirteen Colonies seem especially obliged to whip up a batch each autumn. After all, it is the most widely enjoyed historically American style. But not all East Coasters approach it with equal zeal, and some are downright redundant. One of the more tentative offerings is Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale, though it’s still unmistakeable for its radioactive orange clarity, half-frothy, half-bubbly head, and bouquet of spices (nutmeg assuredly, allspice and clove suggested). Added wheat contributes to impressive head retention and provides another layer to the mouthfeel, still subtle enough to overlook without prompting.
Post Road’s IBU of 24 is a little high for the style and bit of fresh bitterness is apparent in the aroma. But the impression doesn’t linger and isn’t substantiated much in the flavor, where fairly dense and moderately caramelized malts run together a little indistinctly. The body itself retains solid form, though, and is appropriately medium at a bit over 4 Plato. Carbonation is clean and clear, meanwhile, appropriately strong if a little characterless.
The pumpkin flavors are naturally derived, not especially pronounced on the palate and a little thinning in texture; to keep the ABV at a sensible 5% more pumpkin fermentables necessitates less malt. The spicing is strong enough to enliven the mouthfeel, though, ensuring an overall impression more up on the roof of the mouth than sweet stickiness in the back recesses. Many pumpkin ales err on the side of excess, so some credit is due to Brooklyn for their discretion. But even if it is one of the more amenable pumpkin ales available, safe shuffling amidst strident company is scant cause for acclaim.
Served: On tap (Emmett’s Tavern, Palatine)