10/9/23: Lone Pine Brewing Company's Pumpkin Party

5:49 PM

I don't care that most of last week was in the 80-degree range. It's October. It's finally, finally October. And, here in week two of the month, a chill is beginning to settle upon the region. What's the weather going to be in a few days? Who cares? It's cool now. The nights are dark and lengthening. Let's dive into pumpkin season.

The first beer of Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month 2023 is something I picked up after '22's pumpkin beer season. I saw an eight-pack of it on my local bottleshop's shelves and couldn't resist the impulse purchase. I drank the first seven in pretty quick succession but have held onto the the final can for today. I'll let you know what I remember about the ale: It's light and I like it.

A can of Pumpkin Party beside my Halloween countdown decoration.

The beer's from Lone Pine (makers of my favorite Independence Day beer not brewed for Independence Day). Grab yourself a drink and find a blanket for the cold. This evening, we're drinking Pumpkin Party.

Lone Pine was founded in Portland, ME in 2016. Two years later, they were the fourth-fastest growing brewery in the country; a year later, they opened a second location in Gorham, ME. Throughout the expansion of their physical space and their distribution footprint (hi, I can find them easily in Cincinnati), the brewery's still devoted to conservation and sourcing their ingredients locally.

Pumpkin Party's a 4.2% ABV pumpkin ale that's brewed with pumpkins and an autumnal spice blend. The brewery's tasting notes for the beer is "Lightweight Pumpkin." "Lightweight" is the operative word here, which pairs perfectly with what I remember of the ale.

The nose on Pumpkin Party is light (but not slight): It's brown ale through and through, with roasted malt, chocolate, graham crackers, and brown sugar. Behind this there's pumpkin spice (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maybe a touch of ginger). I can't say for certain whether I'm picking up on any actual pumpkin or if I'm just imagining that it's present--if it is in the bouquet, it's incredibly faint. What I'm sure I'm finding is a touch of hoppy bitterness kicking around that doesn't really detract from the ale's overall maltiness. I like how Pumpkin Party smells--it's nose is mild but layered. Purrl? Not so much--she only gave my can four whiffs.

Purrl smelling my can of Pumpkin Party.

Surprisingly, the flavor profile here is somewhat at odds with the bouquet. It isn't necessarily opposing it, but they don't quite match. I'm finding molasses with a little bit of marshmallow and a hint of vanilla. It's not as spicy as I thought it'd be from the aroma. I'm finding those bitter hops, though, carrying into the slender finish with the roasted malts from Pumpkin Party's grain bill.

The beer feels light in my mouth. There's carbonation, sure, but it's not overpowering. It's subtle, but not anything I'd call "thin." It's airy, I guess. Pleasantly carbonated.

Pumpkin Party reminds me of Athens, OH at Halloween. You know the deal for college kids on that night when the veil thins: Dress up, head out, mill about to see what the rest of the town's doing, and hit up a party or two before the inevitable crash of the approaching dawn.

Those parties typically involve beer, usually of the light (or lite) variety. Swap out that cheap macro stuff for this sweet spiced ale and you'd have a hit. Take note, college kids.

Lone Pine's Pumpkin Party gets an 8.0/10 from the blog. It's a good pumpkin beer and definitely something to reach for if you don't want all the heft that can usually be associated with this style. I'm happy that I've enjoyed both Lone Pine beers I've had--I can't wait to try whatever else they make.

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