This one is from my own backyard, a Victoria icon: Spinnakers.
Spiced Pumpkin Ale
Brewed by: Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC)
Ingredients: Water, malt, kabocha squash, lactose, yeast and spices
The astute among you will notice that this “pumpkin” beer does not contain actual pumpkin. I’m not that fussed about it if it tastes good, but my curiosity is piqued – what the hell is kabocha squash?
A trip to Google informs me that it’s a winter squash, also sometimes called “Japanese squash”, and the images show that it’s the stuff that once sprouted all over my parents’ vegetable garden when they put the seeds of one in the compost. We were eating the things for months.
Remember when I said I’m not actually big on pumpkin qua pumpkin? That goes kind of extra for other gourds and squashes. They have to be cooked in a very particular way for me to eat them at all, preferably in some kind of soup and with lots of seasoning. It’s not looking good for this beer.
Still, I am adventurous, and this is liquid with spices, so that’s like squash soup, right?
The label claims that this is a “lighter take” on pumpkin ale, and it is that. I wouldn’t object to the milder flavour, since a lot of the bottles I’ve tried have been very heavy, but the pumpkin pie taste is almost overwhelmed by a weird soapiness. Although it’s supposed to have a low bitterness, what that really means is low hops. The bitterness of the squash is front and centre. I can taste the spices – mostly cinnamon and cloves – on the back end, but again, they’re overwhelmed. Mercifully, there isn’t much aftertaste.
To add insult to injury, it’s got big bubbles, but the head died down really fast. Um, positive notes – it’s a good colour? I think the label is kind of cute? Since it was gross I didn’t really feel like finishing the bottle?
Spinnakers also usually makes a pumpkin porter, and that looks like something I could really go for, but unfortunately I couldn’t find it anywhere, even in Victoria. Give me a shout if you see it anywhere, loyal-ish followers.