Hardywood Brewing, Richmond, VA, Rum Barrel Pumpkin Ale, 12.3% abv. Packs a punch. Dark amber with a quickly fading tan head, this is a unique heady beer. The nose has strong aromas of caramel and pumpkin pie spices up front. The palate follows the nose, with a nice vanilla sliding in mid palate. The high alcohol can be felt as it is going down, but not an unpleasant burn, kind of warm welcome, especially is sipping on a chilly evening.
The aging in rum barrels does add another dimension to pumpkin ales, but do we really need another pumpkin beer taking up space on the beer aisle. When one or two pumpkin beers were released it was a unique tasting beer style to share with friends, but now it is just pumpkin pie in a bottle overkill. While some pumpkin ales taste better than others, I am over this style. I’d much rather see traditional Oktoberfest beers or other spiced beers to get me ready for the upcoming winter.