Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. Cool temperatures, leaves changing color, playoff baseball, NFL football, and most importantly – pumpkin beer.
Even though it’s still early August and most of the reasons I love Fall are still a month away, I got super excited today when I saw my first fall seasonal pumpkin beer of the year today at the store – Starr Hill’s Boxcar Pumpkin Porter. I’m a huge fan of the Charlottesville, Virginia-based brewery, and their Northern Lights IPA is one of my go-to beers. Picking up a sixer was a no-brainer.
Boxcar poured out a deep, dark brown color with some hints of red when held up to the light. There was a nice cappuccino-colored foam head on the pour, but it dissipated pretty quickly. The aroma smells awesome – ginger, cinnamon – pretty much like a pumpkin pie.
Taste-wise, this beer is a study in great tastes that don’t taste great together. The pumpkin flavor is spot-on, with lots of spices and sweetness starting on the front and fading through the middle. And there’s lots of great roasted malt flavor starting in the middle and lingering through the end note with lots of mouthfeel.
But the two don’t mix well. Imagine taking a great porter beer and dumping in a teaspoon of ginger and cinnamon – it just tastes a little strange. I’m definitely disappointed, especially considering I now have a six pack to drink, but I’ll give the Boxcar this – at least it’s unique. If you’re really into pumpkin beers maybe give it a try, but if you’re more of a porter fan, this is one train you want to miss.