1/22/15: Rivertown Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale

2:03 PM

(If you want to see my actual numeric rating before reading about the brew, scroll to the bottom of this post. Some people like to put this first but I think it's more impactful at the end.)

Okay, okay, okay. I know that yesterday I said I'd be spending some time in the fall writing about pumpkin ales. I also know that it's currently January, which, to the best of my knowledge, is pretty much smack-dab in the middle of winter. So, why is my first "review" about an out-of-season brew? There are two reasons. Reason one: since it was the stores last sixer of the stuff, and since it was so out of season, I was able to nab it for $8.99 (which, I'm pretty sure, is lower than the usual retail price. I could be way off on this, though). Reason two: In Cincinnati it's currently thirty-something degrees and dreary with zero snow--more akin to mid-November, in my mind, than mid-to-late-January. Due to these factors, a pumpkin ale seems like the perfect choice for my first beer post!

I'm currently listening The Rural Alberta Advantage's Mended With Gold (which, in last October, became one of my go-to fall albums) while doing a bit of research on RTB's Pumpkin Ale. The weather, the music, and the brew have led me to convince myself that, just for the moment, it is fall. And, with an ale like this, what a fall it is.

Rivertown Brewing Company is located in Lockland, Ohio--nearly within spitting distance of my apartment. According to their website, their seasonal Pumpkin Ale is an August release (in case you wanted to get into the autumn-y, Halloween-y spirit a little early). From the brew's label, I know that it's brewed with a mixture of pumpkins, cinnamon, and molasses, with others spices added for an extra kick. By poking around on their site I learned that the ale is only 5% ABV, which strikes me a little weak for a pumpkin ale. But that's by no means bad news; you can enjoy a few bottles of this in a single sitting if you're feeling up to it.

I have to say, I like this brew. For her part, Purrl likes it, too. She gave it a grand total of nine hiffs, which is right on par with her usual range of five to ten. I can't say I disagree with her attraction to the aroma; through my cold-addled nose the ale smells like slice of pumpkin pie (Purrl loves pumpkin-scented things).

Since I'm reviewing it straight from the bottle (sue me) I can't describe what it looks like. However, the flavor of the brew hits a nice balance of being pleasing without over-powering. All the ingredients compliment each other nicely (and I'm willing to bet that nutmeg is one of the spices). It tastes like what it smells like, which usually makes for a pleasant experience (unless a beer smells bad. I'll touch upon that when I feature a certain butt beer or two, probably in the summer).

The memory that this beer brings to mind is not what I expected. I thought it'd be me and a friend exploring The Ridges (the old asylum-turned-university complex on a hill above Athens, Ohio) but that's not what I got. I guess the time to write about that story is at a later date.

The memory that was immediately dredged up from my first swig of this ale was something much less complex and much more ordinary. It's one of me eating what I assume to be a factory-made slice of pumpkin pie in a university dining hall. I'm sitting with my friends at one of our usual tables in early November of my sophomore year at Ohio University as we finish our lunch before we all have to dart away to the first of our afternoon classes. It was a plain, every day occurrence that, now that all those friends live in different cities/states, I miss. The sky outside the memory's window looks exactly like the sky outside my dining room window as I sit in the present writing this review. The only thing that slice of pie had that this ale's missing is a less-than-generous dollop of whipped cream.

All in all, Rivertown's Pumpkin Ale is a great experience. It's one of the better pumpkin ales I've had (see what I think about others when they hit store shelves in [apparently] August). The brewery's website says this is how they do pumpkin pie, and if that's actually the case their brewmaster must make a pretty damn good pie. I give Rivertown Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale a very respectable 8.5/10 and I can't wait to try more of their brews.

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