In a sea full of pumpkin beers it is certainly hard to stick out from the crowd. It seems like every brewer does some sort of pumpkin beer come fall and we are currently right in the thick of those beers dropping. With every trend though there are outliers, both the good, the bad and the please don’t ever brew that beer again. Good Gourd by Cigar City brewing is without a doubt in the good category. Originally released in 2009 it was solely available on draft for the first two years of production. Then from 2011-2013 it was made available in 750ml bottles and this past year it was bottled in 22-ounce bottles. Since its initial release Good Gourd has become a highly anticipated seasonal staple.
Last year, Cigar City also released a rum barrel-aged version of the beer called Good Gourd Almighty that was strictly released to its brewery members called the El Catador Club.
I almost thought something was wrong when I poured Good Gourd, there is almost zero head and it only really forms when you pour it quite aggressively into the glass. I was a bit confused, but after noting that it sits at 8.5 percent it makes more sense. What little head that does form is slightly off white, but honestly it’s hard to tell because it’s so thin, and disappears so quickly, that the base color of the beer shines through more than the color itself. Ultimately, this is a great attribute to the beer which becomes apparent when we talk about the mouthfeel.
I don’t think Good Gourd could have done a better job getting the nose right on a pumpkin beer. It smells just like pumpkin pie filling, it is crazy how similar to the real deal it smells like. There is a strong dose of fresh pumpkin puree along with a bit of brown sugar, vanilla and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It is more subtle when it’s first poured but then opens up even more as it warms.
The first sip of Good Gourd catches me off guard, while there is a slight sweetness in the nose, there is also an immediate hit of brown sugar and sweet vanilla on the first taste. After the initial sweetness, there is a strong taste of pumpkin followed up by some spiciness from the cinnamon and nutmeg. I am floored at the quality of flavor they achieved in this beer. There is no fake tasting components, it really tastes like fresh pumpkin and high quality spices, this is the best representation of this style of beer that I have come across.
The great thing about Good Gourd is while the first sip was incredible, the beer isn’t even at its best at that point. Somewhere around being one-third of the way through the beer it started getting really good as it warmed a tad. Every time I take a sip and nose the glass I get more and more of the sweet pumpkin and fragrant spices. By this time the beer is drinking with next to zero carbonation, which might not be everyone’s thing, but when you think about a piece of pumpkin pie with a heavy filling, this is the only way it should be. With too much carbonation a lot of those great little tasting notes would have been lost. The liquid coats your tongue and there is the slightest bit of tingle left from the spices after each time you swallow.