Southern Tier Pumking vs. Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

On this episode to old favorites come out on top, Southern Tier Pumking or Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale.

Southern Tier Pumking:

The reigning king of pumpkin beers returns.  Hailing from Lakewood, NY, Southern Tier Pumking has a huge reputation for being one of the best pumpkin brews out there, and with its flavor profile, it’s not hard to see why.  Will this pumpkin pie fly, or does Shipyard have a chance?

Sight:  A lighter orange, similar to the pumpkin.

Smell:  Vanilla and graham crackers explode of the top, with lots of fall spices and pumpkin, and a slightly creamy note and touches of caramel.

Sip:  Vanilla keeps it’s lead, being complimented by a creamy body,  graham cracker and pumpkin pie spices.  The brew is almost a dead ringer for a creamy pumpkin pie topped with touches of whipped cream and caramel.  The flavor is slightly sweet. [A.B.V. 8.6%]

Savor:  The sweetness fades leaving a creamy pumpkin pie filling flavor leaning toward cinnamon.

Southern Tier Pumking is an incredible pumpkin pie in a bottle.  The creamy character and the balance of sweet and spices lend themselves perfectly to this fall brew.  It can be a rough customer at 8.6% alcohol, but the rewarding flavor, and easy drink ability make a ton of fun.  If you’ve never had it, try Southern Tier Pumking before it disappears until next season.

Verdict: Pumpkin Pie, Creamy, Sweetish
Price: $6.99
Lakewood, New York

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale:

Just like last year, this is Shipyard’s up market offering, seeking to balance complexity with  a refined, if not typical, pumpkin style.  Does it gain ground on the reigning champ?

Sight:  Amber, reddish-orange,with a slightly off-white head.

Smell:  Honey is the predominate smell, followed by earthy spices like cloves and nutmeg, some minimal squashy pumpkin.

Sip:  Orange – sweet potato, and honey lead off, but it’s on the dryer side.  Many of the earthier spices come through, particularly all-spice and cloves, with touches of cardamom.  The brew has an almost vinous character, a moderate mouth feel, and noticeable carbonation.  [A.B.V. 9%]

Savor:  The finish is slightly bitter, with a bit of honey essence.  The squash like character is still iconic, and a little bit orangy.

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale represents the dryer pumpkin crew pretty well.  It has a nice balance of spices and an unusual character that lends itself well to standing out.  However, that being said, it doesn’t quite make it to full on pumpkin.  A good alternative to this would be Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale, and for something slightly sweeter, give Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale a go.

Verdict: Honey, Orange-Squash, Earthy Spices
Price: $8.99
Portland, Maine