Spiced Harvest Ale – 6.6% ABV
Folks, it’s getting to be that time of year again. The kids are preparing to don the silly costumes in a quest for candy treasure and the seasons continue their shift out of summer, into fall and towards winter. For those of us who seek out malty quaff treasures for ourselves, this time of year is generally reserved for a few things – Oktoberfest and fall-seasonal releases. This usually equates to meaning pumpkin-flavored beers, at least for now. Today we’re going to cover one of them – Spiced Harvest Ale by Fordham Brewing Company, based out of Dover, DE.
I got Spiced Harvest Ale in my most recent monthly beer shipment. How ironic, it’s almost time for Halloween. The label has all the makings of a good pumpkin-and-harvest theme, in keeping with the name. You have the prototypical farm setting – a silo in the background atop fields of grain, with a tractor up front adorned by pumpkins. The label is nice, but how does the beer itself look? The appearance is that of an amber ale, but the more I look at it, the more I see that easily identifiable pumpkin hue – a sort of hazy orange amber, almost to the point of being golden or copper in color. It poured a nice head, about a finger thick, and it stayed around for a little while, finally settling to a quarter inch white film above the brew.
Getting my nose into this thing, the smell was mostly pumpkin, but there was plenty of additional aromas present as well. There are elements of various spice components that make themselves known – this beer is brewed with allspice, clove, cinnamon and ginger as well as the requisite pumpkin. You get that spicy kick in the aroma sometime after being flooded by a waft of pumpkin goodness. That spice is almost unmistakably commanded by cinnamon, however some ginger and a touch of clove might be present as well. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I’ve been somewhat averse to pumpkin beers in the past. Some of them turn out to be too spiced or too heavy on the pumpkin flavor. Others have been regretfully forgettable. This one I like. The taste is one you cannot mistake – pumpkin, and sweetly so. To be completely honest with you, this is on par with or possibly even better than many of the other officially named “pumpkin ales” I’ve had before. I’m sure that would be deemed as blasphemous by some, but this is a fairly impressive brew to my palate, at least for the style anyway. After the pumpkin taste hits your palate, the additional sweetness follows, giving you another dimension to the beer. Spiced Harvest Ale finishes with a slight spiciness to it, but nothing too sharp or peppery. All the while my nose lingers in the glass, getting a waft of that pumpkin pie aroma, just like Mom’s used to smell after Thanksgiving dinners back home.
Spiced Harvest Ale is a tasty beer. I’m frankly impressed by it. It’s sweet, but not overly so. It’s got a great aroma and if you let it sit and warm a little after pulling it out of the fridge, you’ll get that rich pumpkin flavor with a spicy kick. This is a good beer for this time of year. Not only do we have the pumpkin beers out now, in keeping with Halloween, but pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner is a staple of Americana. Throw in one of these to help complement your holiday dinner. Cheers!