The Pumpkick from New Belgium Brewing Company debuted in the fall of 2013. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t changed much over the last 3 years. It is also the only pumpkin ale I have tried that lists cranberries and lemongrass as ingredients. This one really intrigued me, so I made sure that New Belgium was a stop on my journey to find the perfect pumpkin ale.
New Belgium was founded in Fort Collins, Colorado back in 1991 and they are currently working on expanding to Ashville, NC. The success of the Fat Tire amber ale put New Belgium on the map and they haven’t looked back. Their annual production of just under 6 million barrels per year makes them the fourth largest craft brewery in the US. So yeah, they’re bigtime.
Like most pumpkin ales, the Pumpkick is available starting in August/September and the distribution is pretty wide. I don’t have an exact list of states, but New Belgium is just about everywhere. Although, I have it on good authority that New Belgium is hard to find in New Jersey.
New Belgium Pumpkick
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Malts: Pale, Munich, Caramel
Additional ingredients: Pumpkin juice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cranberries, Lemongrass
Availability: Seasonal (August – October)
MSRP: $9.99 6-Pack of 12 oz bottles
Brewer: New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins, CO
Beers consumed for review: 2 – 12 oz bottles
Nose: There was some of that Saison funk on the nose. This concerned me. I am not a fan of that Saison funk, so I was immediately skeptical. Notes of cinnamon and nutmeg were prominent as well. A mild sweet pumpkin note was tempered by a bright fruity sour note. There was a LOT going on.
Appearance: The beer was a cloudy, golden orange color. I know golden orange is a funky descriptive, but when you pour it, you’ll see what I mean.
Flavor: This is where the Pumpkick distinguished itself from other pumpkin ales. It starts off with thick, bready notes of sweet pumpkin pie spice. There was a mild fruit tartness from the cranberries and more sweet pumpkin pie on the finish. Each sip was sweet, tart and sweet. Most pumpkin ales are reminiscent of Halloween, but the Pumpkick reminded me of Thanksgiving. The only thing missing was the turkey!
Overall Thoughts: This is one of my favorites because it is different. The sweet pumpkin pie notes were tempered by the tart cranberry and vice versa. The flavors balanced out nicely and the mouthfeel was crisp and clean. The Pumpkick may not be my favorite pumpkin ale, but it’s in the top 5 or so.