Review: Redhook Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter

Review of Redhook Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter from Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, NH.

Beer Type: Porter  ABV: 5.8%  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter is dark chestnut brown in color and is made with pureed pumpkin. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are added to the whirlpool and maple syrup is added during fermentation. This full-bodied, rich roasty porter makes you want to eat turkey and watch football, or build a bonfire.”

The Reality: This beer has a roasted spiced scent and a color that I though was a bit darker than the “chestnut brown” that they describe. The flavor starts with a lot of bitter roasted coffee notes and it really feels like you’ve boarded a traditional porter train until a creamy pumpkin note with mild spices comes through in the finish, but without much sweetness. The aftertaste is smooth and rich, which can probably be attributed to the addition of the maple syrup. Overall this beer was well-balanced and easy to drink.  It didn’t want to make me “eat turkey”, mainly because I didn’t think it would be a good food pairing. I did want to “watch football”, but I always want to watch football, so I’m not sure that was a result of drinking this beer. As for “building a bonfire”, I wasn’t sure how safe that would be after drinking several beers, but I wasn’t against the idea.

Final Verdict: Every year, as fall rolls around, you can count on a deluge of pumpkin beers to fill up your local bar’s taps and liquor store’s shelves, and this year may be the biggest wave yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against pumpkin beers, but many of them taste similar and others are too sweet/spiced (you have to be careful with those strong flavors). Each season I try new ones, often just ending up disappointed, so what a pleasant surprise it was when I tried Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter. This beer has all the roasted bitter notes you’d expect from a classic porter and uses the pumpkin, spices and maple syrup with great discretion, adding just enough to balance the porter flavors and create subtle extra layers for your palate. I didn’t have high expectations for this beer because the ingredient list made it sound like it was going to be way too sweet, but it’s not at all, and the maple syrup gives it a nice smooth richness, not unlike how honey is sometimes used in beer. If you’re a porter lover looking for an interesting autumn twist, you should really try this beer. If you’re a pumpkin beer lover that prefers to drink alcoholic pumpkin pie filling out of a bottle, this beer isn’t for you, and this blog probably isn’t either.