Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale

Also From This Brewery

Yowza! Wow! Yikes! Yipee! I’m in love people. Because when it comes to pumpkin beers, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale may well be the biggest one in the patch. It’s certainly one of the oldest pumpkin ales still being brewed today, having been around for roughly two decades now. “Buffalo Bill” Owen opened his brewpub in Hayward, California way back in 1983; Pumpkin Ale was one of his pioneering brews. You just couldn’t find pumpkin ales on every store shelf in those days.

Today, lots of breweries make them. From large brewers like Coors to micros like Dogfish Head, beers made with pumpkin are becoming more and more common. Many brewpubs offer them too. And why not? Pumpkin ales have been around since colonial times, in fact, it is rumored that Buffalo Bill’s version is based on a recipe by none other than George Washington.

Pumpkin ales are, I think, the perfect fall beers, perhaps even more so than are Oktoberfest brews. After all, the pumpkin is the official vegetable of fall and winter. It’s so very versatile, too. We carve faces into it for Halloween, and make pies out of it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. What a truly festive gourd it is.

Pumpkin ales go equally well with the holidays. Of course, I don’t suggest passing them out to the Trick-or-Treaters on All Hallows Eve, but don’t you deserve a treat yourself after handing out all that candy? Pumpkin ales pair perfectly with pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and Christmas, too.

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is now brewed and bottled by the Portland Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon. Not too long ago, it was brewed in Willimantic, Connecticut by the Old Wyndham Brewery, now sadly defunct. This is a beer that gets around, it seems.

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale pours to a golden orange color with a very light head formation and a wonderfully spicy nose that’s reminiscent of the first whiff of a freshly baked pumpkin pie. The palate is based on a firm crystal malt background but it is the pumpkin and spices that predominate. First the spices: cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, all in perfect proportion. They meld nicely with the meaty, squashy-like, stringy pumpkin flavors right on into the spice-balanced finish.

Lots of pumpkin ales are described as a “slice of pumpkin pie in a glass”. This one, though, is probably the closest to that description that I can think of. It’s even better than Old Wyndham’s version, which leaned more to the “stringy”pumpkin side I think. This one is perfectly balanced between pumpkin and spice. It should not be missed.











Review Date: October 7, 2003.