The two great ales to come out of Utica, New York, are both brewed by The Matt Brewing Company, and are remarkable examples of what recipe variations are all about.
Post Road, the Brooklyn Brewery’s take on 18th century American colonial ingenuity, is an autumn wassail that is full of flavor complexity, without being over-the-top with its uses of spices. Some other versions of pumpkin ale, by other breweries, take on a Christmas-Holiday character. No so with Post Road, a very focused pumpkin ale designed to meld the pumpkin with the barley, producing a palate that is bright and flavorful.
Matt Brewing, besides doing the Post Road/Brooklyn contract work, also make their own Saranac Pumpkin Ale, and is for myself, a Beer Doctor favorite.
What I ultimately love about this ale with the Jack-O-Lantern label, is its admiral success to keep the emphasis on the ale part of the equation. In fact, a quite drinkable ale, where the pumpkin and spices do not overwhelm but compliment the overall presentation.
Many taste testers of pumpkin ales inevitably compare them with pumpkin pie. It might seem strange to some, but I hardly ever eat pumpkin pie. This year I was fortunate to have a neighbor, professional chef Fred, offer me a piece of his own prized recipe. As basically a novice, I enjoyed this desert, discovering that the spices were well rounded and perfectly blended. I also supplied a sample of Saranac Pumpkin Ale for Fred to try, which he enjoyed. Which was a bit of a surprise, since Fred mostly drinks wines. But as the old saying goes: an honest brew makes its own friends.
Thank you is the only prayer. Cheers!