Maurice Malone

If you know denim...

African American denim designer and fashion brands owner Maurice Malone speaking to students in denim class at Parson School of Design
A 12 oz. bottle of Kona Big Wave Golden Ale, ranked the best-tasting beer by Denim BMC.

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale tastes like it was brewed with magic water

Kona Big Wave has been my favorite beer since I first tasted it in the summer of 2022. I’ve never drank a more refreshing beer.

“It tastes like it was brewed with magic water.” All kidding aside, those were honestly my very first thoughts. My second thought was to take another swallow, and before I knew it, I had quickly finished my first bottle.

You don’t have to be a fan of tropical-inspired beers to love this beer. The beer is perfectly balanced. For me, it’s flawless. Nothing is overdone, and nothing is left out. It’s smooth to drink and has a clean, slightly fruity finish, leaving no bitterness on the tongue. The aftertaste of the Big Wave Golden Ale is, “simply leaving you wanting more.”

Now, if you’re reading this review, I don’t want you to go out looking for this beer with unrealistic expectations, thinking something magical will happen on your tongue. Or that it will blow your mind, or something. I’m just saying that this is a damn good beer.

Both Big Wave and Kona Brewing Company’s Longboard Island Lager are regularly stocked in my refrigerator. Nothing beats Big Wave as my favorite dinner beer and general thirst quencher. The only time it’s not in my frig, is when I want a change of pace. The fact is if I didn’t occasionally run out, I might not ever drink another beer.

  • Light Golden Ale
  • ABV: 4.4%
  • 21 IBUs
  • Year-round
  • Available in 19.2-oz and 16-oz Cans. 12-oz Bottles & Cans. On Tap
  • Kailua-Kona, Hawaii-based, Craft Beer Brewery
A close-up of two red bar tacks stitched onto the hem of a pair of Gustin jeans highlights what a bar tack is.
For branding and to secure the chain stitch, Gustin blue jeans are commonly sewn with a red bar tack on the hem.

What is a Bar Tack (Bartack)

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What is a “bar tack” (also spelled “bartack”)? This is a question we get almost every day because our denim service is one of the very few that offers bar tacking. The close-up image above shows two red bar tacks sewn onto the hem of a pair of Gustin blue jeans. When you choose to add bar tacking in the dropdown box of our chain stitch hemming service, this is the type of stitching that will be added.

First, an explanation for the majority of our customers who are interested in having their jeans hemmed. The close-up image above shows two red bar tacks sewn onto the hem of a pair of Gustin blue jeans. When you choose to add bar tacking in the dropdown box of our chain stitch hemming service, this is the type of stitching that will be added.

Brands like Gustin, Nudie, and Brave Star jeans have bar tacks sewn over the chain stitching on the hems, both as a branding identifier and to reinforce the sewing. Although they add a bit of extra security by preventing the chain stitch from unraveling, they are not found on the vast majority of jeans. We usually inform our customers that it is not necessary to add them.

"What is a bar tack?" pointed out on Nudie jeans with bar-tacked chain-stitched hem.
Nudie blue jeans are typically sewn with a chain stitch that extends off the hem with a bar tack on the seam.

Definition Summary

A bar tack is a machine-made stitch with a zigzag pattern used to reinforce areas on clothing that experience high stress, such as where belt loops join, pocket corners and flaps, hip seams, and the fly of jeans.

bar tack | bär tak | noun a zigzag stitch made by industrial sewing machines to strengthen areas of a garment with potential weak spots or other sewn items.

bar-tacked adjective

bar tacking noun

Pascal Sugar tells Beer Stories - Cover photo for beer saves lives

Beer Stories with Pascal: The Patron Saint of Beer

Pascal Sugar shares the first in a series of amusing beer stories with the Denim BMC blog. In this video, Pascal shares a one-minute story based on “The Patron Saint of Beer,” but somehow dilutes it into something hilarious about a drunken monk from a small village in England who saved the lives of people who were drinking tainted water in his village by convincing them to drink beer instead of the water.

Close-up of denim train tracks on jeans outseam
Close-up of denim train tracks on a pair of jeans at the outseam, around the knee.

What are Train Tracks on jeans explained

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Often with denim and fading terminology, things are called what they look like. As is the fading effect known as “train tracks.” To achieve this type of fading, the jeans must have either a selvedge inside construction or two overlocked seams (busted seams) pressed open at the outseams.

During wear, friction can cause fading along the high points of the pressed open seams or selvedge. See the image below for an example of the train track fading at the outseam.

Blue denim jeans with train tracks at the outseam to show what are train tracks on jeans.
18 brands of the best pumpkin beers for ranking by the beer influencer blog, Denim Beer Machines and Coffee.

A Fluid List: The Best Pumpkin Beers Ranked

Like First Takes Stephen A. Smith’s “A-List,” this list is fluid. However, this list is fluid, not because of indecision but mainly because there are a lot of pumpkin beers out there, and I haven’t tried them all. OK, there could be some shifting and a change of mind later, but today, this is where things are.

Back in September, I thought I’d get a head start on Halloween by reviewing some seasonal pumpkin-flavored beers. Pumpkin beers were not really my thing (but I’m a fan now), and I ended up on a journey where all I drank were pumpkin beers for three months.

At first, I had planned to simply review Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale, but you know how things you don’t appreciate at the time can come back to haunt you later? As time passes, a voice in your head says, “That was a really interesting flavor; I think you should try it again,” and before you know it, you’re hooked. In my case, I began purchasing six-packs of every pumpkin beer I could find. Now, I’m ranking them. Check out my list of the top pumpkin beers. I welcome you to leave your thoughts and comments.

An artful 12-oz. can of Pumpkin Ale beer by Five Boroughs Brewing Company

# 16 – Pumpkin Ale

Five Boroughs Brewing Co.

Five Boroughs Brewing Company makes a pumpkin beer with beautifully designed can graphics. With hints of pumpkin and spice, I put it in my lighter-flavored category. Its Pumpkin Ale is marketed as “well-balanced and drinkable.” I did enjoy it but deducted points for the lingering, overly bitter aftertaste.

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale 12oz. can or beer for review on Denim BMC blog.

# 15 – Pumpkin Ale

Smuttynose Brewing Co

With most beers, I can write a review after a few sips. Things pop into my head. I know if it’s good or bad right away. In my review of Smuttynose Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale, I really struggled to find something to say about it. Nothing really good or bad stood out, which is why it’s not that high on my list. READ THE OUR REVIEW

A 12-ounce bottle of Harpoon Dunkin' Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale pumpkin beer

# 14 – Dunkin’ Pumpkin

Harpoon Brewery

The pumpkin flavor is mild and has a clean finish, but there are lingering coffee notes that are not apparent at first sip. In fact, the aftertaste reminds me of pre-sweetened cappuccinos from gas stations or Dunkin’ Donuts machines. Watered-down coffee and mechanical cappuccinos do not appeal to me, but to so many Americans, they do. I give the Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin props for originality.

Two cans of New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale beer

# 13 – Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin

New Belgium Brewing Company

Originality is rewarded, and New Belgium’s Atomic Pumpkin’s flavor ranks high for its unique, high degree of spicy take. This delightfully punishing pumpkin ale’s name, “Atomic Pumpkin,” says a lot about it. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

# 12 – 31 Pumpkin Spiced Lager

DuClaw Brewing Company

The DuClaw 31 pumpkin spiced lager is dark and tasty. It finishes a little bitter, but it’s nicely spicy and flavorful, with a hint of sweetness.

A 12-ounce bottle of Southern Tier Pumking Ale pumpkin beer

# 11 – Pumpkin Imperial Ale

Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not without flaws, Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumking Imperial Ale delivers a punch with a pleasant pumpkin flavor. The pumpkin flavor is evident, but the finish has a secondary boozy taste. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12-ounce can of UFO Pumpkin beer

# 10 – Pumpkin

UFO

The Pumpkin brewed by UFO is a pumpkin beer that is easy to drink, especially if you enjoy unfiltered or hefeweizen beers. It’s medium-bodied with a mellow sweetness, and there’s nothing I find overpowering about it. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12 oz bottle of Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale for the top pumpkin beers ranking

# 9 – Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Brooklyn Brewery

Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewery is above average. It has a nice, sharp finish without a lot of cinnamon and spices. It’s just a smooth pumpkin-flavored beer that’s very refreshing without overbearing traits.

A 1-pint can of Bronx Brewery Tattooed Pumpkin IPA beer with tattoo artwork

# 8 – Tattooed Pumpkin

The Bronx Brewery

Tattooed Pumpkin by Bronx Brewery is a sweet and hazy pumpkin IPA with a slightly bitter finish. It’s better balanced in terms of pumpkin flavor and spices than many of the other pumpkin beers that I’ve tried. It’s sold in limited-edition artwork 4-packs with four different labels, in collaboration with Tuff City Tattoos.

A 12-oz. bottle of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale beer blog review of the best pumpkin beers

# 7 – Pumpkin Ale

Schlafly – The Saint Louis Brewery

First thoughts: molasses, dark, heavy, thick, and full of flavor. Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale is a pure delight of a beer. It’s hazy and sweet, from the first sip to the last, and could easily move closer to the top of this fluid list.

Captain Lawrence Autumn Blaze pumpkin beer in 12 ounce can and six-pack box.

# 6 – Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale

Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Blazing clean and refreshing. The Captain Lawrence Brewing Company didn’t go full pumpkin with its Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale; instead, it has a very mild pumpkin flavor that grew on me. I later bought a second 6-pack as a change of pace as a dinner beer.

A 12-ounce can of Montauk Pumpkin Ale, ranked the best light pumpkin beer by the Denim BMC blog

# 5 – Pumpkin Ale

Montauk Brewing Company

Montauk Pumpkin Ale reigns supreme among pumpkin beers on the lighter side. The pumpkin and spices aren’t overpowering, but rather delightfully light. This beer is unquestionably the best in the “light pumpkin beer” category of all the beers I’ve tried.

Two Roads Brewing Company's 12-ounce can of Roadsmary's Baby pumpkin ale beer and 6-pack box.

# 4 – Roadsmary’s Baby Pumpkin Ale

Two Roads Brewing Company

Two Roads Brewing Company’s Roadsmary’s Baby is a traditional pumpkin ale that is scary good and wins the “best in overall taste” category. It’s simply a damn good beer. It’s dark and feels a little heavy in the mouth. Aged in rum barrels, this beer has a smooth, complex, fruity, citrusy finish. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 12-ounce bottle of Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

# 3 – Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Elysian Brewing Company

Before ever trying a pumpkin beer, this is what I imagined a good pumpkin beer would taste like: The Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from the Elysian Brewing Company is medium-bodied, lightly sweet, and great from the first sip to the last. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 16-ounce can of Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin ale for best pumpkin beers ranking

# 2 – Smashed Pumpkin

Shipyard Brewing Company

It tastes like it was poured from a freshly carved pumpkin. Crack open a can of Shipyard Brewing Company’s Smashed Pumpkin, and you can smell the pumpkin. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy. It’s aged in oak-stave bourbon barrels for three months and has a boozy finish. However, my quick-forming buzz told me it was acceptable: “You’re drinking a bourbon-spiked pumpkin beer; let it ride.” READ OUR FULL REVIEW

Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale ranked #1 of the best pumpkin beers

# 1 – Jack-O Pumpkin Ale

Samuel Adams – Boston Beer Company

There is not even a close second. Samuel Adams easily holds the title of “the best pumpkin beer.” READ OUR FULL REVIEW

A 16 oz can of Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin beer for a review of the best pumpkin beers

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Review: Drinking beer with bourbon

There’s no doubt this is a pumpkin beer. I cracked the top open and smelled the pumpkin.

Background

Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin is aged for three months in oak staves from Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. Shipyard Brewing Co. hand labels each can of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Smashed Pumpkin Ale with the year, barrel number, and aging location as an extra touch.

My Review

The initial sip is sweet and pumpkiny. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy. It appears hazy with a deep orange hue. This beer tastes like it was poured from inside a freshly carved pumpkin. Perhaps it’s the bourbon barrel aging, but there’s a strong alcohol taste that I think it could do without. I say “think” because I haven’t finished the 16-oz. can yet and am already buzzed. Woodford Reserve is one of my favorite bourbons, and my buzz has just informed me that the alcohol taste is acceptable. “You’re drinking a bourbon-spiked pumpkin beer; let it ride.”

My conclusion. I love it.

  • Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • 20 IBUs
  • Seasonal
  • Available in 16-oz Cans (4-packs) & Kegs
  • Portland, Maine-based Family-Owned, Craft Beer Brewery
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