You may have noticed some seasonal changes transpiring over the past few weeks. The leaves are changing colors, the Patriots are back with a vengeance, and most importantly, fall beers are on tap again. It’s a great time of year for beer enthusiasts everywhere, but with so many pumpkin ales to choose from, it would be nearly impossible to try them all. The Mass Media surveyed 100 University of Massachusetts Boston students in order to determine the University’s top five must-try fall beers.
The votes are in, and Shipyard Pumpkinhead takes the cake as the very best fall beer, according to 31 percent of UMass Boston students.
Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice give Shipyard Pumpkinhead just the right amount of kick. Crisp and refreshing, this is an easy-to-drink wheat ale with enough subtle spiciness to balance out its sweet pumpkin flavor. Another plus — it isn’t overcarbonated.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest
A solid 28 percent of students picked Samuel Adams Octoberfest as their favorite fall beer, making it the second-most popular fall beer among students polled.
Hints of caramel give this Boston brew its sweet aroma and taste; however, Samuel Adams Octoberfest has an overall mild flavor, bordering on a watered-down taste. It lacks any real spice or complexity. While this fan favorite remains a seasonal staple at most bars around town, its popularity may have more to do with its local roots and wide availability than originality.
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
UMass Boston apparently has a sweet tooth because 22 percent of students selected Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale as their top choice.
With the strongest pumpkin flavor and the smoothest mouthfeel, this sugary-sweet ale is full of cinnamon, brown sugar, and malty notes. Though it does not have a particularly complex or interesting flavor, it’s a crowd-pleaser.
Long Trail Harvest Ale
Vermont’s finest Long Trail Harvest Ale received 10 percent of students’ votes.
Very spicy and rich with notes of honey and maple syrup, Long Trail Harvest Ale is a great alternative for when you find yourself finally getting sick of pumpkin. This beer has the richest, nuttiest flavor of the bunch. With hints of caramel, nutmeg, and toffee to give it a truly unique quality, this ale is anything but bland.
Harpoon UFO Pumpkin
Nine percent of students voted for Harpoon UFO Pumpkin as their number one fall beer.
Not quite as sweet as Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, and a bit spicier than Samuel Adams Octoberfest, Harpoon UFO Pumpkin tastes sweet like pumpkin pie. Malty notes of caramel and a smooth mouthfeel make this beer a must-have of the season. This unfiltered pumpkin ale has more of a pumpkin purée flavor than the more spicy pumpkin ales described above.