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Top 10 beers in the world press

Out of Your Gourd, Redhook Brewery, Seattle, US

Gerard Walen, in the US magazine Paste, writes about how the US beer world “has gone Pumpk-Insane”. Nearly every brewery that distributes races to get a pumpkin beer on the shelf in time for the harvest season, resulting in the gourd-based, spice-infused brews appearing in stores as early as late July, he reports.

Pouring a deep brown “like the hide of a chestnut mare”, the porter crawls up the side of the glass to leave a very thin layer of foam.

Then, on the nose, “a wave of maple hits, from the syrup that Redhook’s brewers added during fermentation.

“Those spices are noted upon first sip, but they are not as predominant as many others in this style. The maple blends with a chocolate flavour, undoubtedly from the roasted malt. Then a hint of another spice comes through—ginger.”

He continues: “For the fan of the less-dominant pumpkin flavours, Out of Your Gourd will be worth tracking down. Those who prefer their pumpkin beers to taste as if they came from the dessert table might be disappointed.”

Pumpkin Porter, 5.38%

Pale Ale, Moo Brew, Tasmania, Australia

Reviewed by Huon Hooke in Australia’s Good Food is an interesting offering from a Tasmanian brewery.

He writes how this Tasmanian ale has “a mid-amber colour and slightly cloudy appearance.”

On the nose, “it has a very hoppy, floral aroma,” and the on the flavour-side of things it is, according to Hooke, “intense and mouth-filling, with a complex malty flavour and a high degree of bitterness.”

“A delicious and refreshing beer,” he concludes.

Pale Ale, 4.9%

Pumpkick, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Chris Outcalt, in Denver’s 5280 Magazine, says that “Fall has arrived” as he reviews this particular pumpkin brew.

New Belgium first brewed this seasonal pumpkin ale, which it calls Pumpkick, last year, he reports.

“The medium-body ale smells as you’d expect, like a freshly-baked pumpkin pie straight out of the oven. The flavour, however, has a twist. New Belgium’s Pumpkick recipe includes cranberry juice and lemongrass. The cranberry juice dominates the taste of Pumpkick, adding perhaps a slight tartness to the beer—a subtle, but unique spin on the style. Bottom line is, if you like pumpkin beers, you’ll enjoy pumpkick.”

Pumpkin Ale, 6%

Fence Post, Back Forty Beer Company, Gadsden, Alabama, US

In Paste magazine’s second review in our roundup, Graham Averill writes about a beer that “knows how to put you Down South.”

“You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like The Fence Post Session Ale,” he says, continuing, “This beer had me searching the back of the fridge for more cans.”

On the nose, “The beer smells like the pineapple juice/grapefruit juice blend you get at resorts during the breakfast buffet, but it has an awesome malty backbone.”

And on the taste, “the whole thing plays out with a sugary sweetness underpinned by a faint hop bite at the end.”

Session Ale, 4.5%

Steam Beer, Sonnet 43, Durham, UK

This “fruity amber lager”, reviewed in England’s York Press by Michael Bates, has an aroma of “oat cream, granola and redcurrants, with a sprinkling of nutmeg.”

On tasting, there are notes of “medium sweet; fruit-cake and burnt sugar vieing with treacle soda bread and cinder toffee.”

Concluding he writes that “wheat bran and dry, bitter cocoa powder come out in the finish, tempered by a honeyed walnut fruitiness.”

Steam Beer, 3.8%

Might As Well IPL, Golden Road Brewing, Los Angeles, California, US

John Verive in the LA Times writes on the latest instalment in the Golden Road Brewery’s seasonal Custom IPA series.

This “India pale lager” is a “fruity hop-bomb with a crisp and clean finish that lets the layered hop aroma and flavours take the spotlight.”

“The lager still has plenty of body,” he continues, “and the alcohol to back it up.”

IPA-Style Lager, 7.0%

Anno Quarto, Mike Hess Brewing, San Diego, California, US

Ian Cheesman in the San Diego CityBeat, writes about a bright-orange-amber brew that “doesn’t have a head so much as a lid. It’s seriously formidable,” he continues. “It’s like a delicious beer plug. I know that sounds kind of disgusting, but it isn’t, I promise. Even with a head that substantial, it still allows dank citrus aromas to slip out from within.”

“The hop punch on this feels like it’s fighting for the title. It’s sticky with heavy notes of pine and a supporting cast of melon, apricot and citrus fruits in the periphery.”

On the finish, he writes that it “is much cleaner than I would expect for such a hop-forward brew. That’s not to say it’s clean, though. There’s a pleasant bitter resin on this that extends its life significantly.”

IPA, 7.5%

Kill Lager, Trouble Brewing, Allenwood, Ireland

Rueben Gray in Ireland’s FFT Magazine reviews an Irish craft lager that is said to stand out.

“Kill lager is different,” he writes. “It’s a Vienna style lager and one of the best examples outside of Austria.”

“It’s a bigger bodied beer than your average lager with a slightly sweet cake like body but also, the refreshing clean crisp bite you expect from a good lager.”

Concluding, he writes that it is “an outstanding beer at any time of the year.”

Lager, 4.9%

High Brass, Revolver Brewing, Granbury, Texas, US

Colin Alsheimer, writing in US magazine CentralTrack, writes on this brew out of Texas.

On the flavour front, he writes how “subtly sweet malts can be found upfront with a firm hop backbone and dry finish.”

Impressed, he says, “for a blonde ale, the sweetness-to-bitterness ratio is quite nice here, with the overall profile leaning slightly more towards bitter than sweet. Beyond the sweet, malts there are also a bit of fresh grain and mineral flavours.”

Blonde Ale, 6%

Wilhelm Scream, Magic Hat Brewing, South Burlington, Vermont, US

And finally, the Drinks Business Review looks at Wilhelm Scream, the Vermont brewery’s first-ever pumpkin ale that’s “named for the iconic scream sound effect that’s been used in over 200 movies.”

“Ripe with flavours of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and caramel hops, this new beer signals the coming of chilling frosts and ghastly screams,” they write, concluding that “Wilhelm Scream boasts 5.4% ABV, and finishes the same way summer does, with just a hint of bitterness.”

Pumkin Ale, 5.4%

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