Another great week is wrapping up, so we might as well close it out with a segment of Tasting Notes featuring Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).
For those of you who may not be familiar, Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter is Starr Hill’s fall seasonal and is a pumpkin spiced, English-style Brown Porter (click here for more info on the style) that comes in at 4.7% ABV. Pumpkin was added during the mash process, and light pumpkin pie spices were then incorporated to allow the pumpkin and base beer to shine. This offering is currently available on draft and in six-packs of 12 oz. bottles in Alabama and throughout the distribution footprint of Starr Hill Brewery. Look for Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter to hang around until the end of October. Alright, on to the Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes on Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery:
Appearance: Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter pours up a deep brown, almost black body. Held to the light, dark garnet hues push through to expose more of a clear, dark mahogany colored body. The pour yielded almost two fingers of mocha colored head that gradually fell to a thin but complete top cap that lasted throughout the experience. Lace was sparse, but sporadically notched the glass as it emptied. This brew is very pretty in presentation.
Aroma: Clove and pumpkin are the first notes to the nose, and they do so with a quickness. Brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon follow closely behind, but not nearly as pronounced. There is a nice and light chocolate graham cracker-like base note in there that really pulls things together at the end of each sniff. Everything here is very pleasant and nothing is over the top.
Taste: The pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice notes are up to bat first in the flavor as well. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice are all here, but nothing is overly aggressive. Toast, chocolate and caramel nuances push through in time to temper the spice notes. A light floral, earthy hop presence rounds things off to provide some balance with a touch of bitterness. The pumpkin spice is a bit more pronounced in flavor than it was in aroma, but it is easily reined in by that incredibly solid base provided by the English-style Brown Porter.
Mouthfeel: Boxcarr is on the lighter side of medium in body with a surprisingly crisp level of carbonation. This combo provides a smooth and lightly velvety feel on the palate, but it dries up pretty nicely. This creates a nice effect that keeps the spice notes from being too much or cloying. The aftertaste is just a touch of cinnamon and dark chocolate. For the level of flavors here, this brew remains light and incredibly easy drinking.
Final Thoughts: Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter comes together quite nicely and this is in large part thanks to the great decision that the brewery made in going with the English-style Brown Porter as the base. This gives the beer just enough size to stand up to the pumpkin pie notes, but light enough to keep it easy drinking and from getting too sweet. That said, if you have an aversion to Pumpkin Beers or pumpkin pie, prepare yourself for an experience that does highlight those notes (as it should considering the name of the brew). This is a great offering for beer drinkers of any level to experience and learn more about both Pumpkin Beers and the not too often seen style of the English-style Brown Porter. Give this one a go the next time you see it. Prost!