I wasn’t looking for the Pumpkin Harvest Ale from Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. when I found it at my local Bevmo. To be clear, I was looking for pumpkin ales, but not this specific one. I didn’t know it existed. Hell, I didn’t even know Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. existed. I have been to Half Moon Bay a handful of times, but to be fair, I never went there looking for beer. So I spotted this seasonal release and, out of sheer curiosity, I decided to pick one up.
After doing some research, I learned a few things about the Pumpkin Harvest Ale. It debuted on September 25, 2013 as part of the Half Moon Bay Mavericks line. Half Moon Bay Mavericks is now a “sister independent craft brewery” that is “devoted to creating premium American craft beer in cans.”
Somewhere along the line it dropped the “Mavericks” handle and became plain ol’ Pumpkin Harvest Ale. It is released on a seasonal basis in bombers and kegs. It is an amber ale with a ton of Sugar Pie pumpkins (over 120 lbs) added to the mash and the boil.
In addition to the Pumpkin Harvest Ale, master brewer James Costa and his team have several beers I’d love to try, especially the Calf-eine coffee milk stout. Sounds scrumptious!
Pumpkin Harvest Ale
Style: Amber Ale w/ pumpkin added
MSRP: $4.99 – 22 oz bottle
Brewer: Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. – Half Moon Bay, CA
Beers drank for review: 1 22 oz bottle
Nose: This one smells quite good. Sweet notes of pumpkin pie and brown sugar are mingled with a mild, malty aroma to create quite a bouquet.
Appearance: The dark amber ale is crystal clear with a thin, foamy head.
Flavor: One thing is for sure – this is a full bodied amber ale. Notes of burnt caramel and doughy, roasted malt hit the palate first. The just sweet enough pumpkin pie note is present on the finish and lingers the perfect amount of time. There is a yeasty quality that makes this a bit more filling than other pumpkin ales, but not too filling. Nothing about this beer is overdone.
Overall Thoughts: This may be the most balanced pumpkin ales that I tried this year. It’s up there with the Punkin from Dogfish Head as one of my favorites.