Ah, it’s finally fall as of this weekend. This is my favorite season for many reasons: NFL football, MLB playoffs, leaves turning color and crunching underfoot, a chill in the air, but most of all – pumpkin beers.
There’s just so much to like about them. When good, they’re full of spices and taste like the greatest of all desserts, pumpkin pie. Plus these days, every brewer makes one, spanning the beer range from porters to ales. And that brings me to this week’s review: Anderson Valley’s Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale.
Fall Hornin’ is part of the brewery’s “Bahl Hornin” series of experimental beers. (Bahl Hornin’ apparently means “good drinking” in Boontling, the folk language of Anderson Valley, California). It’s available from August to October and brewed with a blend of sweet malts, seasonal spices, and pumpkin puree.
The beer pours out a dark copper color, almost the hue of a brown ale, and it’s got a thick cream-colored foam crown. The aroma is dominated by pumpkin, cinnamon, and a hint of bread – if you close your eyes and take a sniff, you’ll swear you’re about to dig into some fresh pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner.
Tastewise, this is pretty much a perfect pumpkin ale. It’s crisp and light with sweet cinnamon up front, tons of pumpkin and nutmeg with toasted bready malts through the middle, and a smooth caramel end note that leaves a slightly hoppy tasting mouthfeel.
Label art is so often a red herring, drawing you in and covering up a subpar beer, but in this case it’s all good. I really loved this brew, and can’t recommend it more highly.