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Matt Brewing Company - Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Matt Brewing Company - Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Beer Club featured in U.S. & International Variety Beer Club U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Matt Brewing Company - Saranac Pumpkin Ale

  • ABV:

  • Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):

  • Serving Temperature:

    42-45° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pint Glass
  • Malts:

    Maris Otter, Wheat
  • Hops:

It's that time again… the pumpkin beers have grown up and are ready to be picked from the patch. Saranac Pumpkin Ale has got a pretty big nose, though it's not really of pumpkin, which is what many initiates to this style expect, for obvious reasons. In our view, few pumpkin beers really get anywhere near what pumpkin tastes like (and for good reason). They should probably be called "pumpkin pie beers" if we're to have a more realistic indication of aroma and flavor. What really sets this version of the style apart from others is the deep-seated mustiness and yeast character as well as fresh wort (pre-fermented "beer") and grains amongst the various spicy qualities. Speaking of which, there's cinnamon, cloves, and allspice all atop a faintly acrid roasted character. Be prepared, this sucker doesn't hold back on the spices—they are BIG in this beer, and the aroma really blossoms into a full roar of spicy characters, with vanilla and a slight woody character coming through as it warms. Notice how it takes a second after the sip goes down for that rush and zing to kick in, and how it is later rounded out by a nice beery base of clean malts and grains. Finishes relatively clean considering the zesty burst that kicks things off. Hops are nowhere to be detected, really—only a bitter balance is executed, but flavors are difficult to get at amidst the wash of spice notes. We thought about pairing this with cinnamon toast. Problem with that can be that this style of beer becomes bland by comparison to the real thing (cinnamon)… So, a more conservative approach would be to serve with fresh pumpkin-stuffed tortellini served in a sage and butter-walnut sauce. The brewery recommends serving with fowl and game birds. We'd go bacon-wrapped quail or pheasant. Would it be wrong to hand these out to trick-or-treaters? (To give to their parents, of course.)
The Matt Brewing Company is not only a brewery but an institution. This is one of the most industry-respected, accomplished, award-winning breweries in the country, with a heritage dating back to the 19th century—exceedingly rare in the world of U.S. craft-brewed beer. Francis Xavier Matt arrived in the states in 1878 (only 13 years after the end of the American Civil War, and just shortly after the nation's 100th birthday). The man put in several years of work gaining brewing experience at the already established Bierbaur Brewery. Originally from the Black Forest region of Germany, "F.X.," as he liked to be called, settled in the sparsely populated Adirondacks of New York, where he founded what is today one of the oldest breweries in the United States (and the oldest in New York state). Today, the surname of this family-based brewing operation honors their commitment to tradition and pride. The Matt Brewing Company has survived numerous world-altering events, including two World Wars and Prohibition. After the days of Prohibition had passed, F.X., then 74, was joined by his sons Walter and Frank, and a tradition of family brewing ensued. Under the leadership of the third and fourth generations of the Matt Family (Nick and Fred, respectively), the Brewery has earned a reputation as one of the most respected specialty brewers in the country, producing a wide range of distinctive, flavorful beers. Though not earth-shattering from a global perspective (like other dramas they've endured) in late May of this year the brewery's packaging area was struck by a devastating fire that resulted in many millions of dollars' worth of damage to their historic brewery site. Thankfully, they've been able to land on their feet and are now getting back to business as usual. Not to minimize the impact of this event, but in the context of two World Wars, the Great Depression, and, worst of all, Prohibition, we're not surprised they've been able to keep it together and maintain their business. After all, it's been more than one hundred and twenty years since F.X. created the first of his brewery's malty treasures and established the legacy that is the Matt brewing tradition. As their label states, they're technically now in their "3rd century of brewing." Today, each of their brews is a flavorful testament to time-tested recipes and literally generations of experience. For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, give them a call at 800-765-6288 or check out their web site at www.saranac.com.
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