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Brew review: Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale at Resurgence Brewing

Fall is not only the season for Oktoberfest-style lagers, but pumpkin beers too.

A style that seems to be increasing in volume each year, pumpkin beers range from heavily spiced, light-bodied ales like Shipyard Pumpkinhead to lighter spiced, more full-bodied brews like Ithaca Country Pumpkin. Some pumpkin beers, like Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumking, have even achieved cult status, with people waiting for the release date to stock their fridges full of 22 ounce bottles to last all through the winter.

But pumpkin pie spiced beers aren’t for everyone – it’s a love-or-hate style. Drawbacks for some beer drinkers are that they can be too sweet, or so spice-dominated that they can be overwhelming.

Resurgence Brewing Company brews a regular pumpkin ale, but they also wanted to experiment with adding different flavors to a spiced pumpkin brew. During Buffalo Beer Week, the brewery held an event to try out some experimental beers on the public. The Resurgence team brewed up small batches of several different styles. Some were popular, and some weren’t, but one of the big winners was their Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale. So they produced more, and will have it on tap through at least the end of October.

Resurgence added vanilla beans and roasted coffee beans to their pumpkin ale. The resulting beer is a confluence of flavors, seemingly meant for each other. The beer pours out a dark brown with ruby red notes in the color. If there’s one complaint about the beer it’s the head, which was light tan in color, but very small and dissipated quickly. The lack of head is quickly forgotten after giving the beer a sniff though. Unlike other pumpkin beers, the vanilla and coffee take over the aroma with the pumpkin in the background. The flavor is much the same, with a progression of vanilla to coffee, and a slightly sweet finish.

With moderate carbonation, and a medium to full body, the Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale fits the bill on a cool fall day.

Even for those that aren’t necessarily fans of pumpkin beers, the combination of flavors here are worth a try. Like having a slice of pumpkin pie topped with vanilla whipped cream and a cup of coffee. I recommend stopping by Resurgence Brewing while this is still on tap, and making Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale your dessert for the night.

Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale, $6.50 for 16 ounces, Resurgence Brewing Company, 1250 Niagara St., 381-9868,

Matt Kresconko also writes about beer as Buffalo Brewhound at Follow him on Twitter @BfloBrewHound.


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