The sixth pumpkin beer we came across in 2014 is Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin.
Sparing no expense, this label has gold-embossed lettering, scrollwork, embellished curley-q vector graphic accents, fake ink stamping, and no less than 5 different font typefaces. And, you know what, it looks kinda nice. Good thing, too, because this is a big beer. Big beers deserve a big label, I guess. Perhaps this beer started out in hand-lettered brown paper packaging and the sheer force of the beer willed the fancy label into being during bottle conditioning.
We will never know.
A fellow brewer once told me, “you know a well-brewed beer when it has some insanely high level of alcohol and you can’t even tell.” This is not the case for Shipyard; it certainly tastes every ounce of its 9% ABV, but I’m not ready to write it off just yet. Not normally a fan of high-gravity beers, I found myself going back to it for a second and third sip. Maybe it was the sweetness. Maybe it was the curious licorice aftertaste. Shipyard’s pumpkin ale snaps the tongue with a strong, peppery, citrus-y start and then mellows into a sweet and roasty finish.
This beer would be best enjoyed in small, sippable doses with dessert or a nice cigar.