Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Uinta Brewing Co.'s "Punk'n" Harvest Pumpkin Ale

In Utah, there resides a brewery with an interesting, fresh perspective on brewing and a healthy collection of good beers to offer. I'm speaking of Salt Lake City's own Uinta Brewing Co. And I must say, I've taken a bit of a shine to this brewery. I've sampled their Hop Notch IPA and their Dubhe Imperial Black IPA (yeah, it's as mouth-watering as it sounds), which is named after the Dubhe star in the big dipper.

And can I also take a moment to say I love Uinta's bottles? They're a little shorter than average, and they curve down gracefully from the top to the base, rather than having a neck which simply ends when the body begins. Also, they have a compass embossed on the bottle just above the label. How nifty is that?

Anyway, the beer I'm focusing on today is one of their fall seasonals: "Punk'n" Harvest Pumpkin Ale. I've had quite a few pumpkin ales, so I'm rather picky. You can't really de-throne Southern Tier's Pumking (see the review for this brew here), and there are some more fully enjoyable pumpkin beers out there than most. It's a tough market. But I think Uinta has produced a beer which really shines in this category. Let's take a look at it, shall we?

Appearance: 4/5
I have to give credit where credit is due. While Pumking tastes like a king, it doesn't actually look like a king. Punk'n looks much more like an autumn pumpkin beer. It's a deep amber color, much like the color of late October foliage. There is a good amount of carbonation in this beer, which tapers a bit as it sits in the glass, but is still present enough to note. The head is very slight, probably only half a finger maximum. Still, the color is what draws me in.

Nose: 5/5
Spices galore! Get ready for an aromatic treat when nosing Punk'n. The forefront of the spicy barrage upon your nostrils is cinnamon and nutmeg, two spices which work in perfect harmony in any pumpkin beer. But it smells warm, almost like the aroma of a pumpkin pie. It's a full, very powerful scent which will leave you dying to try it.

Taste: 5/5
The malts in this beer are fully present, balancing out the spices you're almost sure are going to be the main feature of the brew upon nosing it. But no! There's a bready, earthy malt flavor to this ale, enough so that it almost tastes like a brown ale brewed with pumpkin. And yes, there's a good jolt of pumpkin malt in there, too. And there's even a hint of bitterness as an added bonus. It's a very fulfilling taste.

Mouthfeel: 2.5/5
Now here's where this beer falls short of a great pumpkin beer. It's a very tasty and aromatic brew, but it lacks in body, I feel. Punk'n has a light-to-medium body because of the pumpkin and earthy malts. However, it's nothing that fills your palette and makes your eyes widen.

Finish: 2/5
Some spice and hints of pumpkin linger upon the finish. However, these flavors quickly fade. Perhaps this is because Punk'n isn't particularly strong, clocking in at a very sessionable 4% ABV. But the finish just felt lackluster to me.

Total Score: 88/100

This pumpkin ale tastes great, smells great, and looks quite appetizing. However, it's not a full experience. The mouthfeel and finish are weak. But that doesn't mean it's not a very tasty pumpkin beer. I think there are a lot of great flavors to be had in this brew and Uinta really nailed that on the head. They really know what they're doing when it comes to making a good-tasting brew that are good for you, too. Yeah, Punk'n sports 3% organic ingredients. So I wouldn't knock this beer until you've tried it this fall.

Until next time, cheers!


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