Category Archives: Beer Reviews

Goodwilltasting’s Pumpkin Beer Roundup!

Well folks, I’m still slacking on the posts and I apologize, but I thought I would put up a little something for my favorite holiday of the year: THANKSGIVING.

We are less than 2 days away from all the indulgence and deliciousness that is Thanksgiving Dinner. There are few things I enjoy more than a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, surrounded by good friends. The great Ron Swanson once said “Crying: acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.” I’d like to add the sight of a Thanksgiving spread to that list.

So what beer goes best with Thanksgiving Dinner? Some might say something boring and light to balance with all the heavy, rich food, like a dry pilsner or light-bodied stout. I’m gonna say, “hey jackass, it’s the holidays!” and go with something a little more festive: PUMPKIN BEERS.

I love pumpkin beers.  I love pumpkin beer season.  I love Thanksgiving… have I mentioned that yet? One important note for pumpkin beer n00bs: PUMPKIN PIE SPICE ALONE DOES NOT A PUMPKIN BEER MAKE! For me, pumpkin beer isn’t legit unless there is actual pumpkin added during the brewing process.  So many beers out there masquerading as pumpkin beers when all the brewer did was add a little nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon to the beer before they bottled it. You should be outraged.

So without further ado, here are 5 of the most recent pumpkin beers I’ve tried, ranked from most hated to most favorite. Take a look!


NAME: Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead, Portland ME.
ABV: 4.5%
REVIEW: Disclaimer: I drank this on tap at a bar a few weeks ago and wrote down my tasting notes there. They read: “Shipyard pumpkin head. Coors light with essence of pumpkin. D.” Light smell of pumpkin pie spice on the nose, unpleasantly light bodied, short, fizzy finish.  I recommend Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin instead. It is LEAGUES better.

Pumple Drumkin

NAME: Cisco Brewers Pumple Drumkin, Nantucket, MA
ABV: 6.0%
REVIEW: Drank from the bottle so not sure about appearance. Sweet citrusy smell with a hint of nutmeg. Subtly spicy, high carbonation, sweet finish. For a pumpkin ale it’s not very pumpkin-y. Kind of a pilsner with hint of pumpkin pie.

Uinta Pumpkin

NAME: Uinta Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin, Salt Lake City, UT
ABV: 10.31%
REVIEW: Dark copper color, deep caramel, clove, and cinnamon smell and taste. The spices kind of overpower the whole beer but overall a solid pumpkin beer to go with your thanksgiving leftovers. Kind of boozy probably from the oak barrel aging but whatever, it’s the holidays!

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

NAME: Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (Pugsley’s Signature Series), Portland, ME
ABV: 9.0%
REVIEW: Light brownish copper color, foamy head. Nice notes of pumpkin and nutmeg on the nose, smooth velvety mouthfeel, rich pumpkin and spice flavors come through, sweet finish. Delicious. I don’t understand how the same brewery can also make the pumpkin-flavored garbage water they call Pumpkinhead.  Makes zero sense.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

NAME: Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Easton, PA
ABV: 8.0%
REVIEW: Beautiful dark amber color, smells like fresh pumpkin pie, tastes like it too. A little spicy and more well-balanced than the Smashed Pumpkin. Creamy mouthfeel, sweet lingering finish. This is pumpkin pie in a bottle. Enjoy!

SO I hope this helps guide those of you who are stressing over what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever it is, throw in a six pack of pumpkin beer and you will be a Thanksgiving Champion!

Happy Turkey Day you filthy animals.

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Three Floyds Zombie Dust


NAME: 3 Floyds Zombie Dust (Draught)
TYPE: American Pale Ale
ORIGIN: Munster, Indiana
ABV: 6.4%
REVIEW: Couldn’t believe my luck when I found this bad boy on tap at Farmhouse bar and grill in Burlington, VT!  Fresh smelling, lemon zest nose, apricot on the tongue, crisp juicy mouthfeel, nicely balanced, short sweet finish. Really enjoyable APA, but not quite sure it lives up to the hype. No offense y’all.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Fixed Gear American Red Ale


NAME: Lakefront Brewery Fixed Gear (honestly I bought this beer for the name)
TYPE: Red Ale
ORIGIN: Milwaukee, WI
ABV: 6.8%
REVIEW: Dark copper color, foamy cream colored head, kind of a tart cherry smell even though it’s not a sour ale. Tastes a little biscuity, a little tinny, fruity bittersweet finish. Interesting beer. Kind of odd actually. The main reason I wanted to try this beer was because of the name. I want to like it but not really sure how I feel about it. Worth a try but I probably won’t buy it again.

goodwilltasting grade: B-

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Maine Beer Company MO Pale Ale


NAME: Maine Beer Company Mo Pale Ale
TYPE: American Pale Ale
ORIGIN: Portland, Maine
ABV: 6.0%
REVIEW: Light golden brown color, opaque, fresh sweet smell, notes of pineapple. Fruity, juicy pale ale with a smooth, crisp mouthfeel and bittersweet finish. Gotta hand it to MBC. They make a fine pale ale. I’m between a B+ and an A- on this one and I just can’t decide.

goodwilltasting grade: A-

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Hitachino Nest Dai Dai IPA


NAME: Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Dai Dai IPA
ABV: 6.2%
REVIEW: Golden brown, slightly opaque, sweet tart smell. Bitter up front, then slow sweet finish with notes of honey, pine, and orange zest. Hardly hoppy at all, this tastes more like a saison to me… but a good saison. Don’t really know how this qualifies as an IPA, but it’s interesting. Like the white ale the flavors are subtle, but subtle is not the adjective I look for in an IPA. Not gonna lie, I’m a little disappointed.

goodwilltasting grade: B-

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Mikkeller/Prairie American Style

American IPA

NAME: Mikkeller/Prairie Collaboration American Style IPA
TYPE: American IPA (Nice job taking the guesswork out, Mikkeller)
ORIGIN: Denmark
ABV: 7.5%
REVIEW: Fermented with brettanomyces which is interesting. Fresh juicy tangerine smell. Golden amber, white foamy head. Sweet, super juicy, super balanced, lightly bitter at the end. Delicious. This might be one of my new favorites. That’s high praise.

goodwilltasting grade: A.


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Green Flash West Coast IPA

Green Flash West Coast IPA

NAME: Green Flash West Coast IPA
TYPE: West Coast IPA, duh (Double IPA)
ORIGIN: San Diego, CA
ABV: 8.10%
REVIEW: Green Flash West Coast IPA. Light amber color, orange zest and pine on the nose, bitter throughout, strong citrus notes, medium body, short, bitter finish. Get ready, this beer packs a punch.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Stone Go To IPA

Stone Go To IPA

NAME: Stone Go To IPA
TYPE: Session IPA
ORIGIN: Escondido, CA
ABV: 4.5%
REVIEW: Light golden honey color, fresh hoppy grapefruit and lemon zest smell, thick, foamy head, nice fruity taste, white grapefruit and tangerine. Light body, but the bitter finish still packs a punch. I think I could get used to this session IPA thing. What do you guys think btw… Is the session IPA here to stay or just a passing fad?

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Hop Rod Rye

NAME: Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
ORIGIN: Healdsburg, CA
ABV: 8.0%
REVIEW: Dark amber, very fresh, sweet smell, fresh cut grass and apple. Sweet, bitter finish, a little peppery spice from the rye. Very smooth, bittersweet finish. Solid Rye IPA but He’Brew’s RIPA takes it.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Hitachino Nest White Ale

hitachino nest white ale

NAME: Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest White Ale
STYLE: Witbier
ORIGIN: Kounosu Naka-Shi Ibaraki, Japan
ABV: 5.5%
REVIEW: Light brown, opaque, orange zest smell, orange-y herby taste, a little thyme, clove, and banana. Smooth sweet finish. Really subtly complex beer that’s still very smooth and refreshing. One of the first craft beers I ever tried and still a winner.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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