I like making fun of Missouri. Growing up in Kansas, it was a pastime, like watching KU Basketball and forgetting that KU has a football team. Missouri, however, has decided to show me up by becoming the home of two very, very good pumpkin ales this year. First the Schlafly from St. Louis, and now the O’Fallon from, appropriately, O’Fallon.
Name: Pumpkin Ale
Origin: O’Fallon Brewery, O’Fallon, MO
Style: Pumpkin Ale
I drank this: from a bottle at Old Chicago, Olathe, KS
This beer is a warm, soft, orange/amber color: it really is the color of an actual pumpkin. I thought that this might bode well, and I was right. I can’t comment on the smell, however, as it came out so cold that it emitted absolutely no scent whatsoever. So I let it warm up for a few minutes before I started in on the tasting.
Flavor-wise, this is one of the strongest pumpkin flavors I’ve found in a pumpkin ale. In the Schlafly, it was very clearly pumpkin pie; in the O’Fallon, it’s slightly less sweet and pie-ish but still very strongly pumpkin. There are spices, too: at first sip, there’s a very strong hit of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, followed by the pumpkin. I think this doesn’t make me think “pumpkin pie” specifically because the spices don’t blend with the pumpkin perfectly – I get the spices as an initial hit, and then the pumpkin flavor. I don’t have a problem with this, because it helps the beer be a hint less sweet than some other pumpkin ales, and helps put the emphasis on the pumpkin itself.
Finally, there’s an aftertaste of pale malts and wheat bread, which made no sense at all. The pumpkin and the lovely, lovely spices all went poof! on swallow, leaving me with bread and malts and eventually a very sour flavor that I wasn’t a fan of. So I had another mozzarella stick and ignored it.
To sum up: aftertaste aside, this is a very good pumpkin ale. I’d go for the Schlafly first, no question, but this is a good sub if you can find it and the Schlafly is unavailable. This is also a better pumpkin ale for food: the Schlafly is so concentrated that it stands by itself and would make an excellent dessert beer, whereas the O’Fallon is a bit more relaxed about things and won’t try to get in your way if you force it to share taste buds with your meal.