Review: Fort Garry Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale (2013)

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Review: Fort Garry Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale (2013) by Cody La Bière
Last year Fort Garry Brewing came out with one of their many new beers as part of their Brewmasters Series. Fort Garry's Eisbock never returned as part of the series (yet), but Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale has made a return after a one year hiatus, just in time for Halloween time. Heck, I reviewed Happy Jack this time last year too!. I thought it was time to give a bottle of this year's version a go and see if it's changed much compared to the 2012 edition.

At $6.32 or so for a 650ml bottle, it's about what you would expect for any 650ml release of a seasonal beer. So not hard on the pocket book, plus good for final nights-by-the bonfire before the snow hits.

Appearance: A reddish brown ale, reminiscent to their ol' Rouge ale, hue of caramel, minimal beige head that diminishes right on the spot.

Aroma: A light oaky & vanilla scent. Then there's the smell of pumpkin pie: a medley of cinnamon, a bit of breadiness, sugar and nutmeg.

Taste: Not too overpowering for the palate, this is a great bonfire beer, sweet with essences of cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar. This will go great with your leftover turkey, which I know you do have! A bit of a butterscotch note in the background. A light amount of bitterness to the palate. Not overpowering, so the typical Manitoban beer drinker may enjoy this, if they can get past with a beer colour that's not yellow.

Overall Thoughts: Compared to the 2012 batch, not as oaky as '12, the flavours are more mellow this time around as last year's was a pumpkin pie smashed into a pint glass. Even though there's a local distillery that has more than their shares worth of oak barrels, unfortunately Fort Garry didn't get access to them for this year's batch because we all know a barrel aged beer is the best kind of aged beer! It could have been a bit sweeter and a bit more cinnamon but all in all.. this is your standard pumpkin ale. Drink the pumpkin before Happy Jack drinks you! 5.5% ABV, 650ml, 25 IBU, $6.23.

www.fortgarry.com