9/18/16: Redhook Brewing's Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter

2:39 PM

Well folks, it's the time of year again. Yes, it's still summer, as it will be for a few more days. But I've felt a chill on the air lately. Autumn is finally, finally rolling around. And, if you've been paying attention to the offerings at your local beer supplier, you've probably already made note of that. Stores here started selling Octoberfests on the last day of July and pumpkin beers started showing up early- to mid-August.


One of these pumpkin beers is what I'm drinking today. I've never had a Redhook brew before Out of Your Gourd but I've always noticed them due to their low prices. While I have had some friends regale me with tales of less-than-stellar experiences with Redhook's offerings, when I saw that their pumpkin porter was just $7.99 I knew I was going to give it a go. What do I think?

According to the About page of its website, Redhook Brewing started in 1981's Seattle, WA with Gordon Bowker and Paul Shipman at the helm. While their initial beer was an fruity ale, they quickly turned their attention to other styles such as the porter and the winter warmer ale. Eventually, the brewery had so much demand that they opened brewing facilities in Woodinville, WA (in 1994) and Portsmouth, NH (in 1996). Next year, Redhook is opening a new brewery and pub in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any information on Out of Your Gourd on Redhook's website. However, that's not a great loss at all because my bottle tells me everything I need to know: at 5.8% ABV, the porter is "A dark ale brewed with pumpkin, spices and maple syrup." So, it's a porter with pumpkin and maple syrup? As my coworker aptly put it when I told him about the beer, it's like the brewery crammed all the best parts of fall into one bottle. The question is: do all those best aspects of the season work well together?

They do in the aroma, at least. It's porter up front with it's dark chocolate coffee-ness. But, lying immediately under that, I'm finding the smallest amount of pumpkin spice. Finally, the whole package is wrapped up with a finishing maple syrup zing. I think it's great. Háma, who gave it four whiffs, does too (note that his whiffing scale is more conservative than that of Purrl, my other cat).


Out of Your Gourd's flavor pretty closely follows its aroma. It is, foremost, a porter and Redhook treats it as such. The first thing I get from each swig are those deep, roasted malt notes make a porter what it is. But, after that, I find a sharp (but not bad) sweetness that undoubtedly can be attributed to the maple syrup. Its a bright note in a dark beer. The pumpkin makes itself present in the finish--this makes Out of Your Gourd not as abrupt as other pumpkin ales that exist solely to shoehorn pumpkin into every aspect of their being. Its subtle. It really, really works.

This is a chewy beer. Perfect for a porter. Perfect for the expectations of the coming cool evenings and frosty mornings.

This wonderful, pumpkin maple porter makes me think of a spooky corn maze I once visited. It was roughly seven o'clock on an early November Saturday. I don't remember how much admission cost, but I remember that I had to take a hayride to the start of the maze. While my friends and I waited for the tractor/wagon combination to come pick us up, we sat on hay bales and watched the Saw movie playing on the provided outdoor television.

I don't remember the hayride. I don't remember much of the maze itself. But I do vividly recall that, in the midst of it all, there was a dilapidated school bus where everyone got to re-enact that scene in Jeepers Creepers 2 where the demon's wing was hanging down through a hole in the bus' roof. The maze was fun, if not particularly scary. But that brisk autumn-only feeling is what sticks with me.

Redhook's Out of Your Gourd is one of the better pumpkin beers I've had. It combines all of my favorite autumnal flavors in a truly spectacular fashion. I'm giving it a 9.0/10, which is all the more impressive when you factor in the brew's price point. Give it a go if you find it.

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