Dec 20, 2016

Cascade Brewing Pumpkin Smash

I popped open this bottle of Cascade’s Pumpkin Smash shortly after finishing off what remained of the excellent The Vine — I was still in the mood for some tartness and who else to look toward than this brewery. This 11.1% ABV beer is described as a blend of Belgian-style quadrupels that had been aged for up to 22 months both brandy and bourbon barrels (along with pumpkin and spices). As you can imagine, the duration this beer spent in those barrels has certainly imparted a solid influence.

Both brandy and bourbon play a big part in the flavors present in this richly colored brew. The amount of pumpkin and spices are kept to a low-to-moderate level as the sour tartness delivers a decent punch before everything fades to a lasting finish. I was initially worried after having smelled Pumpkin Smash — the spice presence nearly equalled the bourbon and brandy, giving the impression of a potpourri bomb. Thankfully, when everything hits the tongue their influence is tamed by the strong barrel flavors, Belgian yeast and caramel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this big beer, though I wish I had been able to drink more of The Vine at the time. Pumpkin Smash is packed with a ton of brandy and bourbony flavors and a moderate amount of tartness to accompany a welcome earthiness. From a personal preference, I’m glad the spices didn’t not come on as strong as I had initially feared. This is a solid seasonal brew that I will certainly seek out again — unless I really hold true to my annual pumpkin beer boycott in 2017.