REVIEW: Core’s Pumpkin Pie Lager is plenty spicy, but not overdone

Photo: Brian Sorensen

A few weeks ago I wrote about pumpkin beers and reviewed a really nice one from Springfield, Missouri. It seems only appropriate to look at another this Halloween season – and this time from one of the local guys.

Core Brewing & Distilling Company’s Pumpkin Pie Lager is available throughout the area in 22oz bottles (aka “bombers”). It’s also available on draft at many bars and restaurants. 2014 marks the second year that Core has released Pumpkin Pie Lager as a seasonal beer for the fall.

Poured into an imperial (20oz) pint shaker, Pumpkin Pie Lager was medium-to-deep amber in color. It was bright and clear and appeared to be moderately carbonated based on the number of bubbles in the glass. Even with a vigorous pour, the head was thin and quickly disappeared. The nose was clean with light spicing.

Pumpkin beers scare me because they are often spiced to levels that should be made illegal. And even worse, they are frequently over-the-top sweet. I tasted plenty of spices in Core’s version, but they weren’t overdone. The underlying malt character supported everything without being syrupy.

What I really liked about Pumpkin Pie Lager was how dry it finished. There wasn’t much hop bitterness to speak of and it didn’t fatigue my palate. I typically struggle to finish a bomber of craft beer (especially a style like this), but I didn’t have any problems with this one at all.

Pumpkin Pie Lager is one of Core’s better beers if you ask me, and I’m not necessarily a fan of the style. It definitely leans more towards spice character than pumpkin (as many pumpkin beers do); but it’s full of flavor, it’s appropriate for the season, and at 5.8% ABV it’s easy to drink. It’s also a pretty good bargain at around $5 for a bomber.

I’m told it will be around for another couple of weeks based on supply, so definitely hurry if you wan to give it a try.

Cheers – and Happy Halloween!

Brian Sorensen (@EBSorensen) is an admitted beer geek, occasional home brewer, and member of the Fayetteville Lovers of Pure Suds.