As it turns out Jolly Pumpkin has finally made a pumpkin beer named La Parcela. I opened the beer last night expecting to be amazed at all the pumpkin character. In the end what we have here was a very tasty Saison. Now I am not slamming Jolly Pumpkin, nor their brewing abilities. The beer was quite tasty and one I would purchase again, but I have yet to find a pumpkin beer where the fruit stood out without an extreme amount of spices and then it is the spices which stand out not the fruit. I’ve always contended homebrewers should keep a can of Libby’s Pumpkin and show it to the beer and then spice like a pumpkin pie. They can reuse the can to show it to the beer the next year. Pumpkin in and of itself just doesn’t have much character and when you put that in a beer with a ton of spices it doesn’t show up. I’ve thought for a long time a Saison made with pumpkin might be an interesting experiment, and having this beer it does make a tasty beverage, but I’m still not convinced pumpkin beers can ever showcase the fruit.
Back to La Parcela. The beer was nicely balanced with a light bit of phenols which to me seemed to be more from fermentation than from spice additions and a slight bit of tartness which added complexity. This was not a big beer, but it was big in terms of enjoyability. The price point was a little steep for a Saison, especially one touting pumpkin, but without a strong presence of the fruit.
PS: Botanically speaking, pumpkin is a fruit.