Half Full Pumpkin Ale
1 pint, ~$6, 6.1% ABV
Purchased at The White Horse Tavern, Washington
Yes, it’s true. I’m one of those annoying pumpkin beer
haters dislikers. But even with the annual “Gourdian Knot” glut of pumpkin beers, from which there is no escape, I also tend to keep my mouth shut about them.
Well, I do have an annual late summerwhine about how pumpkins themselves have no real flavor and most breweries overly spice their pumpkin ales and many of them use artificial flavorings all of which results in cloying, sweet, stunt beers that I do not enjoy.
Note: There are several pumpkin beers which I do enjoy. Just not the majority of them.
Obviously, they sell. Clearly, people like them. My wife, whom I love dearly, happens to love them. So no, I don’t really HATE them at all. What I do hate is when a brewery just carelessly throws a bunch of apple pie and “fall” spices into their beer and call it a pumpkin ale and that’s that.
I do get a kick out of the various names for the oversaturated pumpkin market though. Marketing folks have gone bonkers with pumpkin names… And yet, no “Gourdian Knot” yet? First brewery to use that gets a high-five from me.
The Half Full pumpkin, conspicuously lacking a pumpkin pun for a name, was on tap during a lunch I had with my wife. As I said, Hoang likes the pumpkin spices so she was happy to order it. The bartender lady felt compelled to tell us that this was “the best pumpkin” she’d ever had.
Perhaps she’s only had this one?
It’s sometimes tough to fairly judge a beer’s physical properties on tap. Who knows if it was somehow tapped wrong or rolled around the truck in transport or is old or is being run through dirty lines… But in certain cases, I have no choice.
UPDATE: Now I do, as in 2015, Half Full canned this! (See below)
Half Full Says:
Light bodied ale brewed with pumpkin, and spiced with cinnamon sticks and nutmeg.
The ale was flat. Like, dead flat. Beyond that, it was a very standard, very “classic” pumpkin ale. As they say themselves, brewed with cinnamon and nutmeg. Yay.
Remember, I’m old. So all this Yankee Candle stuff in my beer just doesn’t work for me. I judge these pumpkin spice beers pretty much on how little of this crap they put into the beer.
Half Full used a light hand with their additions, and I appreciate that. Not quite light enough for me, but a tad lighter than average for a pumpkin spice beer. But the real problem here was the flatness of the beer.
I don’t know what it was, but the flatness combined with the pie spices just sort of stuck to your mouth and tongue and wasn’t all that pleasant. I’m not even sure Hoang would have finished her beer if not for me sipped a quarter of it.
It’s great that Half Full is getting on taps all around the state. I mean, a small Stamford brewery getting a line out in western Washington is pretty impressive. I would be curious to try this one at the brewery proper, perhaps, if only to get the correct carbonation.
UPDATE: Ok, so I bought a can. It was far superior to the flat tap effort I had last year. All the promised flavors were present, and the carbonation was on point. In short, the Half Full pumpkin ale will appeal to all who like pumpkin ales with nutmeg and cinnamon. Why anyone would like a beer with nutmeg and cinnamon is beyond me, but here’s to you. Go buy this beer. Psycho.
Overall Rating: C
Rating vs. Similar style: C