Craft beer tempts palate

CAPTAIN LAWRENCE BREWING COMPANY’S PUMPKIN ALE RECEIVED moderately high ratings from our reviewers.

The Captain Lawrence brewing company is based out of Elmsford, NY. Since its founding in 2006 by University of California, Davis brewing science graduate Scott Vaccaro, the company has won four craft brew awards and enjoys a wide selection of craft brews. As a nod to the coming fall season, Dan and I decided to review Captain Lawrence’s Pumpkin Ale.

After opening the 12oz bottle chilled to about 45°F, I poured the beer into a pint glass and observed its moderately sized head, around two inches in height and quickly shrinking to a thin foam a quarter inch in thickness. Holding the glass to the light, I found the ale to possess an appealing clear but dark amber hue. I swirled the glass to release more of the brew’s natural aromas. Breathing in through my nose and then my mouth, I captured a faint toasty and sweet smell. I’ve had other pumpkin brews before; the Captain Lawrence’s pumpkin ale aroma was much lighter in comparison. As for taste, the craft beer yielded a clean, nutty flavor with a foamy and crisp mouthfeel. It also had sweet undertones, probably resultant of the pumpkin puree being directly added to the mash. Though my favorite type of beer is an India Pale Ale, I did appreciate the pumpkin ale’s balance of flavors.

Overall, I enjoyed the beer, but would have liked more of a pumpkin punch. For light beer drinkers, I would consider this flavor to be on the safer side, being light and subtle, like its aroma. If you’re new to the field of craft brews, I suggest this as a seasonal starting point. Otherwise, my score, just like the one I gave it on untappd, is 3.75/5.

I hate twist-tops. That said, Captain Lawrence excels in this facet of beer production, as I needed an opener to enjoy the beverage. The brewery’s pumpkin ale was a refreshing way to start the fall season, with its ever-so-slightly hoppiness and a pronounced scent of pumpkin. Popping the top off the bottle evokes strong feelings of autumn’s signature crispness, and sweet-smelling overtone makes this beer easy on the nose.

The beer is moderately cloudy, but it’s not (as far as I can tell) considered an unfiltered beer. The head—in my kitchen’s fluorescent lighting—was faintly orange, possibly due to the inclusion of pumpkin in the recipe. The main flavor of the beer is pumpkin, which shares the spotlight with the standard fall spices—cinnamon and allspice, especially. Unfortunately, there was a consistently lingering coffee flavor in the center of the tongue—something I am not a fan of. As the beer went back, it was dry on the tongue with a hint of fizz.

I’d give Pumpkin Ale a 3.5/5. It was refreshing to have a pumpkin beer at the beginning of pumpkin spice season, and the aromas and tastes alone bring about the warm and cozy feelings of snuggling up next to a fireplace and watching the New England Patriots dominate the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pumpkin Ale is something I would definitely drink again, but likely only between October 1 and Thanksgiving.