Dec 10, 2012

Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Porter

There’s no doubt that brewers love to play with the pumpkin when it comes time for the leaves to drop and the weather to grow colder. Most times, their pumpkin concoctions are of the lighter fair, but every now and again one or two of them gets adventurous and chucks some of the orange gord into a stout or porter. Now, I’ve only had a couple brews that were stout or porter based and had a solid helping of pumpkin added. Both (Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout and Fermentation Without Representation) were, for the most part, just okay.

But I’m always willing to give a style another chance. And that’s why we’re looking at Starr Hill’s Boxcar with this review. The 4.7% ABV pumpkin porter carries with it an earthy quality that went quite well with the nicely balanced brew. It may not be a style that I would buy too often, but this version of it is the best I’ve tried thus far.


Boxcar pours with a creamy, biege head of foam that dropped slowly atop the opaque, black brew to a thin surface covering.


A solid helping of pumpkin and spices tingle the nose as distant chocolate and roasty notes rest comfortably in the background.


Earthy pumpkin and spice blend arrive first as a light roast and then subtle chocolate notes follow in line. The pumpkin fades almost immediately as the roast malt and lingering spices hang around for a bit in the semi-dry finish. There’s a light, late forming sweetness in the mix as well. With it’s modest alcohol content the beer goes down smoothly and, if you’re up for a couple of them, won’t do too much damage.


This wasn’t a bad brew. It had a nice balance between the spices, pumpkin and roast malt that made for a welcome combination of flavors on a cold and dreary evening. Like I wrote above, this isn’t a style of beer that I would go for often, but I can see myself with a glass of Boxcar in had this time next year.

Rating: 3.75/5

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