On a recent business trip to Boston, the lovely Kavey kindly brought me back some local(ish) beer. The Harpoon Brewery is based in Boston itself, although it also owns a second site up in Vermont.
They appear to have quite an impressive range, but understandably it wasn’t possible to fit more than a couple of bottles into the luggage – one of their IPAs, and a rather irresistible bottle of pumpkin beer.
First up is the Harpoon IPA, a 5.9% ale that started life as a seasonal special and which has gone on to become Harpoon’s best selling beer. It certainly looks good in the glass, with a beautifully clear golden colour and a rich, lingering foamy head.
The nose is sweet, with plenty of hop fruit and sweet clementine that is reminiscent of Refreshers.
In the mouth, the initial impression is one of fizz; this is a heavily carbonated beer. There’s an orangey flavour to start, but the sweetness of the nose is lost and all the flavours are muted. The finish is dry, but without a great deal of hoppiness or bitterness.
It’s surprisingly (and rather disappointingly) reserved for an IPA.
The second bottle is the Pumpkin UFO, another 5.9% ale. This is (obviously) a seasonal autumnal beer, with the UFO in the name standing for UnFiltered. Despite that, I actually managed to pour it nicely clear until the last moment, when I somehow picked up all the sediment and ended up with it in the glass!
The nose is heavy on spices – coriander seed, earthy fruits and yes, pumpkin. Something about the aroma reminds me of Mr Matey bubble bath, although my wife looked at me as if I was insane when I said this.
Another foamy beer in the mouth, with a nicely dry bitter edge to it. The spices don’t come through strongly, but what I do get are toasted pumpkin seeds by the bucket. It’s very odd, but as my tasting notes say, not unpleasant…
I’ve had that IPA before. Can’t imagine pumpkin beer would be very good though… lol