Field Review: It’s the Not-So-Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!


If you’re a regular on the blog you may know that several of us look forward to the Fall (well, let’s be honest: August) with anticipation for the arrival of this year’s crop of pumpkin beers.

Tonight I spotted Harpoon’s UFO pumpkin on draft up in New Hampshire, so despite it being a warm August night, I thought I’d give it a try and start Fall a little early.

Big mistake.

Harpoon’s Pumpkin UFO pours a clear orangish color with medium head. It seems to hit the right (or at least expected notes in the smell category: pumpkin pie, spices (cinnamon) but they’re not quite as prominent as some other pumpkin beers we’ve tried. Still, promising.

Well, to quote The Sundays, here’s where the story ends: tasting this beer was profoundly disappointing. This is probably meant to appeal to a wider audience as it isn’t remotely close to exciting (or indeed interesting). The mouthfeel is thin with medium-high carbonation but it just didn’t deliver in the flavor department. Something vaguely pumpkin-ish is there for sure, but the rest is very can-of-corn with an unpleasant metallic finish.

Look, if you’re going to make a pumpkin beer, MAKE a pumpkin beer!

The more successful (IMO) takes in the style are fuller-bodied beers with some substance to them. Pumpkin dishes tend to be hearty. Pumpkin pie is dense; most people don’t go back for slice #2 (though I have been known to).

This is why Southern Tier’s Pumking rules the style from atop a very high throne: Southern Tier get that Pumpkin beers need to be fuller-bodied, more substantive beers to compliment the snap in the air when most people will enjoy them.

Harpoon’s kick at this particular can is an uninspired, almost cynical take on the pumpkin beer. Avoid.

Vitals: Draught, poured into a chilled pint glass.

Taste: D. Saved from the drainpour abyss only by an inviting smell. Total disappointment.

Drinkability: C- I suppose it’s “drinkable” in that it’s watery, but you will not enjoy the experience.

Packaging: I can’t believe it matters.

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