Big Drop: Firesider: Pumpkin Spiced (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown. Thin off white to browned head that is mostly clear bubbles.

Nose: Cinnamon sticks. Nutmeg. Greenery. Cloves. Pumpkin. Orange skin. Malt chocolate.

Body: Nutty. Light chalk. Pumpkin. Cloves. Gingerbread. Greenery. Black pepper.

Finish: Cinnamon. Turmeric. Gingerbread. Dry. Nettles. Cloves.

Conclusion: Ok, this is definitely a spice led beer, there is no hiding that. So, let’s see if that spice led character helps it get past the common low alcohol beer issues.

The beer side of the beer’s body is more a feeling than a set of flavours. There is a bit of malt drink to malt chocolate in there, a chalky touch that oft comes with low abv in dark beers, but that is well hidden. The main beer style that seems to be pushing through here is a kind of nutty brown ale character that seems to work well as a savoury base for the spice to work from.

The cinnamon seems to lead the spice character, giving an understated sweetness. You then get the cloves working the back of the main body and lasting long out into the finish. Soooo, kind of feels mulled spiced to me. What is the difference between mulled and pumpkin spice? Should I google? Should I already know? Anyway, we all know what mulled spice tastes like right? It tastes kind of like that.

Despite using pumpkin as one of the ingredients instead of just the spice, the pumpkin flavour is unreliable and waxes and wanes throughout the beer. Sometimes it makes for a rewarding and solid middle to the beer, other times it gets easily lost in the spice. The beer is never pumpkin led, but it does do enough with it to earn the beer’s name.

While most of the beer is exactly what you would expect, the most unexpected event is that there is a peppery undertone character that comes out. It is another savoury grounding and gives a nice, neutral grounding from the heavier spice flavours.

Ok, it is now getting hard to do much more useful detail here. The beer is well spiced, but not clingy so the spice doesn’t become annoying. However definitely spice led and that seems to work very well at hiding low abv flaws. Basically this is a spice beer done well, not much extra, but does exactly what is expected, just at a super low abv, which is cool.

So, I enjoyed, not a super beer, but super well done spice, making a good low abv spiced beer.

Background: Not one of the recent four pack of collaboration beers, this is fact one of the two winter seasonal beers they released. This one having pretty obvious inspiration from all the pumpkin spice stuff that goes around in the fall. Anyway it is made with (deep breath) Magnum hops, lactose, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin. So fair heavy loaded. Also, noticed that it had actual pumpkin listed there as often pumpkin spice just referred to the spices. Anyway, another one from Independent Spirit. I went with SOPHIE: Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Sides while drinking. Only found about her music with her death which made it a very bittersweet listen – amazing electro pop music found out in such a sad way.