Pumpkin-Head Ale | Red Car Brewery and Restaurant

Liked This Beer
3.72 w/ 4 Ratings

Brewed by:
Red Car Brewery and Restaurant
California, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 10-03-2004

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4 |  Reviews: 3
Reviews by instrumentality:
Photo of instrumentality
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was invited to a Halloween party this Saturday and decided to go on a mission to find some pumpkin beer to contribute. Being anything but an expert on pumpkin beer (my only experience was that Jack's Pumpkin Spice Beer from Anheuser-Busch, which actually tasted almost like pumpkin bread), and not really even being a fan of the taste of pumpkin, I asked around on the beer forum and Red Car was one of the most recommended sources.

Yesterday evening after work, my girlfriend and I rolled into the Red Car brewery. I ordered a pint of Pumpkinhead. She ordered the sampler. Of the four beers she tried, the Pumpkinhead was the one she ended up ordering in a pint glass, so it was flavorful enough yet mellow enough to please someone who's equally against Bud/Miller/Coors and IPA's.

Moving on to my own perception...

The brew poured a clean, rich reddish-orange color, a suitable visual for preparing one's mind to drink a pumpkin flavored beverage. The head was nonexistent--not even lace existed--but there were tiny scattered bubbles of carbonation throughout the glass.

I don't know if my sense of smell was off that day, but I could barely detent any scents...maybe the slightest hint of pumpkin, but I think my brain just wanted to smell that.

The flavor was light and wheaty like a standard hefeweizen, with very subtle flavors of slightly sweetened pumpkin (my girlfriend couldn't even detect any pumpkin qualities). I would have liked a little more kick in there...either some extra hops or maybe some nutmeg and/or cinnamon to compliment the pumpkin...but no such luck. The mouthfeel was also pretty light and easy on the palate with minimal alcohol taste and light carbonation--but not so little that it tasted flat.

This brew was nothing too memorable, but it was a worthy attempt at a pumpkin beer. The good news is, because the beer was so mellow and easy to drink, I decided to go ahead and buy two growlers of it, figuring that the majority of the people at this weekend's party will enjoy it.

I'm hoping that I can find the time to locate and enjoy at least one more pumpkin beer on tap. That way I can get another growler of that and hang onto a growler for myself. As unexciting as this beer is, it's definitely refreshing and light enough on the ABV where I can drink a pint or two after work and still use my brain for other things afterward.

 2,386 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Sampled on draft during a recent visit to the Red Car Brewery & Restaurant.

Appearance: Clear amber-orange body with some gold flashes. Presented with a decent white head that seemed to quickly fizzle to a thin covering as it sat on the Bar. Nice conditioning.

Nose: Decent nose, best described as Pumpkin Pie meets American Pale Ale in a dark alley. A restrained nose that is neither over the top but neither a disappointment.

Taste: Nice layers of malts and hops but the soft Pumpkin gets to shin in the latter third of this one. Fresh, clean and crisp itÂ’s a nice drinking Pumpkin brew that somehow relaxes. Has a very Cask ale feel to it also.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Yet again, as with other Red Car Brewery beers I noted a distinct Cask-like feel. Served on draft the Pumpkin Ale most certainly benefits from a subdued but present carbonation that helps the flavors of the Pumpkin-Head Ale flourish. I had Two Pints of this wonderful brew tonight, it accompanied my tasty triple cheese Burger easily, and it also stood on its own as a great drinker. A session beer for sure!

Overall: A delicate tasting Pumpkin Ale, the kind I prefer. A solid American Pale Ale base with a teasing hint of fresh Pumpkin. At 5.5% it is also extremely quaffable and makes for one of the better Brew Pub Pumpkin Ales that I have had this Fall. Nice.

 1,368 characters

Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: I know its corny to say that its the color of pumpkin, but I'm going to say it anyways. "Its the color of pumpkin", quite hazed with a medium sized off white milky head.

S: Caramel, light pumpkin pie spices and thats really about it. Not a lot of odor, surprisingly.

T: Sweet pumpkin with brown sugar start the show off with a mild malty base balancing the two out. Once can find cinnamon and nutmeg lurking beneath the surface. Finishes spiced with lingering maltiness.

M: Medium body with a hard mouthfeel.

D: This was pretty good and I really don't like pumpkin beers that much. It wasn't as aggresive as other pumpkin beers, had good balance to it.

 667 characters

Pumpkin-Head Ale from Red Car Brewery and Restaurant
Beer rating: - out of 100 with 4 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.