Sep 5, 2017

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale

I guess September isn’t too early to crack open a pumpkin ale, especially as cold as the weather has been in the northern Virginia area the past week or two. I also haven’t noticed the annual creep of the orange gourde too much this year. If more pumpkin ales came with the warmth of habaneros like New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale, I’m could be swayed to enjoy it more frequently, on a year-round basis.

A solid backbone of Pale Mena, Pale Rahr, Caramel and Munich malts supports the pumpkin, the light tingle of Nugget hops and perhaps a bit too much cinnamon from start to finish. The level of cinnamon is fairly strong much for my personal liking — I’d prefer it to take a step back and accompany the pumpkin instead of over taking it. The chilihead in me would love more habanero in Atomic Pumpkin Ale’s mix, but the gentle warmth it provides is still a nice touch, spreading smoothly from the tongue to a soft glow in the chest with the first couple of sips.

While the level of cinnamon felt a bit heavy handed, the pumpkin and habanero are at the right amount to compliment one another nicely. The fiery pepper never overwhelms the flavor or overall experience, adding just a bit of late-forming warmth that will cause your tastebuds to double-take if you hadn’t previously read the label. I could go for another glass of Atomic Pumpkin Ale, as long as that cinnamon is toned down a touch.

This is a review of a promotional sample.