10/10/21: Ithaca Beer Co.'s Country Pumpkin

3:28 PM

So, that fall feeling I've had for the last few post is now a thing of the past. We've seen scorchers every day for the last week(ish), and we'll see scorchers for days yet to come. I'm trying my best to look beyond the heat--leaves are still falling, the autumnal aroma of decaying leaves flits through the air, and pumpkins abound.

It's still October, after all. Halloween's three weeks away (and, boy, do I still have beers and beers left between now and then). We're moving forward, hoping the chill and the spooks of the season catch up to us. Today, we're striving for this with Ithaca Beer Co.'s Country Pumpkin.

Ithaca Beer Co.'s based out of (you guessed it) Ithaca, NY. The brewery, "The Spirit of the Finger Lakes," has been around since 1998. Back then, they were brewing on a 7-barrel setup. Today, they're pumping out more than 20,000 barrels annually. Here's their "Brewery" page for more details. 

You can read the official description of Country Pumpkin over on Ithaca's "Random Acts" page. It's a 5.9% ABV pumpkin ale that features pumpkin spice, sweet malt, and "...a surprisingly dry finish."

Let's get this out of the way now: Purrl gave my can two whiffs. It's not for her. But, me? The bouquet's something to write home about in that it's unlike any other pumpkin ale bouquet I've thus far encountered. There's an unexpected apple juice quality to it, lending it far sweeter notes that I'd imagined it'd have. Digging deeper, the pumpkin's definitely here, as is a small smatter of spices (cinnamon and allspice are what I'm sussing out). All this to say, the can's nose is something else and Purrl's opinion on the aroma's appeal isn't to be trusted.

The ale's flavor profile is, namely, pumpkin. The spices here are subdued and serve to accent the vegetableness of the gourd. There's a definite malty brown ale quality to Country Pumpkin, but it never loses sight of the fact that it's a pumpkin ale. That finish? Yeah, it's surprisingly dry.

Touching on the mouthfeel, it's what I'd expect from an ale: full, not too sharp, and quenching. Absolutely something I want to throw back.

About five (!?) years ago, Michelle and I went to a pumpkin patch with her sister and her sister's then-boyfriend (now-husband). It was after dark when we arrived, and we'd already picked up our jack-o'-lantern pumpkins from a local grocer. We went just for the fun of it. We took a hayride, we ordered fairfood, we drank sweet cider, we saw the farm animals (goats, rabbits, pigs, sheep, and chickens), and we ventured into the corn maze for a good three minutes before getting too scared to keeping going (it was dark, remember?).

It was a hell of a night in the country, and one that left a lasting impression on me and Michelle. Sure, I was sick at the time (this was years before COVID) but I had an absolute blast. It was the right mix of hokey and spooky for my Halloween season. Country (Pumpkin) enough for me.

Ithaca's Country Pumpkin knows precisely what it is: A pumpkin ale. That pumpkin shines brightly (helped a little by the malt bill and the shake or two of spices employed by the brew). It gets an earnest 9.0/10 from me.

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