Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale

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As everybody knows, fall is the time that pumpkins come into season. The pumpkin, of course, is a very versatile food. You can make soup out of it if you like, and some do. You can also use it in cookies, cake, or the perrenia holiday favorite, pumpkin pie. I happen to enjoy mashed pumpkin as well (try it as you would squash). And when you're done with all that, you can always toast and eat the seeds. But the very best thing you can do with pumpkin is to make beer with it. I may have said all of this in another review, but youíll just have to indulge me. Hey, I just love pumpkin .

There are more than a few pumpkin ales available across America, but most of them are distributed only locally. For years, though, you could always count on finding Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale pretty much anywhere you went. Thatís mainly because Blue Moon beers are made by Coors, which affords them the benefit of a wide distribution network.

Since I moved to Georgia a few years ago, I havenít seen Blue Moonís Pumpkin Ale for sale. Happily, that changed this year and a large number of local stores are carrying it. Donít be put off by the fact that Coors brews this, either: itís a great beer with a lot of pumpkin flavor perfect for fall enjoyment.

Of the assorted pumpkin ales available to beer lovers, some accent the flavor of pumpkin, some the spices traditionally found in pumpkin pie, and some both. The Frog and Hound brewery of Willimantic, Connecticut, now sadly defunct, made a wonderful pumpkin ale full of stringy, vegetal pumpkin flavor. The Union Station Brewery, a brewpub in Providence, Rhode Island, makes a delicious Pumpkin Spice ale that has lots of spice but, surprisingly, no pumpkin.

So where does Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale fit in? I think itís in the middle category. To be sure, there are plenty of spices here, but thereís a good amount of pumpkin flavor too. The resulting beer is not overpowering but very flavorful and a perfect match to a slice of pumpkin pie or other fall fare. I like it with turkey on Thanksgiving.

Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale pours to a deep orange amber color with a light creamy head and a slightly sweet malty nose that hints at pumpkin. The palate starts out slightly sweet and full of rich crystal malt, then develops notes of sweet cooked pumpkin flavor, nutmeg, and candied fruits. The finish is nicely balanced, dry, with a lingering hint of spice.

I really like this beer, and though the notion of pumpkin in beer may seem strange to some, it shouldnít. After all, our colonial forbears used pumpkin as a seasoning and even a base for beer when barley and hops were in short supply. Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale may not be the best example of the style on the market, but it is a reliable, tasty, and readily available version. Ask for it at a retailer near you, and tell them the Bruguru sent you.

Update 2007
It's September of 2007, and as I type I'm sipping a delicious cool glass of fresh Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. The name has changed slightly, of course, and the label now advertises the beer as Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, with the "Harvest Moon" in large boldface and the "Pumpkin Ale" in smaller letters beneath. The neck label proudly proclaims this as Blue Moon beer.

The beer sis till a treat, spicy and delicious with the flavors of fall. There has always been some debate as to whether pumpkin is actually used in the making of this beer. Years ago, I called Coors and asked them that same question. They stated that the beer is indeed made with "essence of pumpkin", and the six-pack carrier lists flavors of "vine-ripened pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice."

Don't let the naysayers get you down. This is still a great beer, and at just $6.49 a six-pack, a great deal too.


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Review Date: September 17, 2003

 Last Updated: September 29, 2007