Hell or High Watermelon American wheat beer by 21st Amendment Brewery'

A Hell or High Watermelon Storied Review

Years ago, my beer journey took a delightful turn with a sip of Hell or High Watermelon from 21st Amendment Brewery. Imagine a scorching summer day, a cozy beer bar by the park, and a group of friends after a satisfying bike ride. As a big fan of wheat beers, stumbling upon a watermelon-infused wheat brew on tap was a pleasant surprise. Curious, I took a sip. And wow, I was hooked.

That first taste sparked a hunt. Like a detective, I searched everywhere, hoping to find that elusive watermelon beer again. But alas, it disappeared like a fleeting summer breeze, leaving me wanting more. However, luck was on my side the following summer when, like an old friend, Hell or High Watermelon showed up again.

Fast forward to today. My palate has grown after sampling many fruity beers, yet I’m still in love with this American wheat. With each sip, memories of that first taste come flooding back. With its delicate, mellow watermelon essence and a crisp finish, Hell or High Watermelon is a quenching delight that’ll have you yearning for another sip.

Even though it’s not always available, I grab it whenever I can, especially in the hot summer months. To be real, a beer this good is worth waiting for. So, if you ever get the chance to try Hell or High Watermelon, consider yourself lucky. Enjoy it, savor it, and let its fruity charm take you to beer heaven. Here’s to the beer that started it all!

    • Style: American wheat brewed with real watermelon

    • ABV: 4.5 %

    • IBUs: 17

    • Seasonal: Available April through September

    • Brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery, San Leandro, California-based, independent craft brewery

A 12-ounce bottle of Whole Hog Brewery's Pumpkin Ale, set against a neutral background, ready for tasting review on the blog 'Denim Beer Machines & Coffee'.

The Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale Review

Whole Hog Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale is an exceptional brew that has been consistently capturing the attention and admiration of beer enthusiasts, especially during its seasonal availability from August through October. Despite pouring with a minimalistic appearance, almost deceivingly so, with few bubbles, this pumpkin ale has an unexpectedly vivacious flavor profile. There’s an artful harmony in the taste where one part brings forth a light and alluring sweetness while the other side resonates with a robust richness that you can’t miss. The beer masterfully balances its pumpkin essence and pie spices, ensuring they enhance the flavor rather than overpower it. Notes of natural cinnamon, nutmeg, and authentic pumpkin shine through, bringing memories of cozy autumn evenings.

Why just read about a beer’s pour when you can see it for yourself?

Undoubtedly, Whole Hog Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale has made a significant mark in the brewing world. Garnering a series of notable accolades from 2012 to 2021, its awards stand as a testament to the ale’s exceptional quality. Such consistent recognition highlights the brewer’s unerring dedication to detail and craft.

With a clean finish, each sip becomes smoother and more delightful than the last, making it an absolute pleasure to the palate. Whole Hog Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale is not just a drink; it’s a journey through autumn’s finest flavors.

See where Whole Hog Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale ranks on our list

  • Style: Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 7 %
  • IBUs: 38
  • Seasonal: Available August through October
  • Awards: 2021 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal, Pumpkin Beer
  • Awards: 2019 Great American Beer Festival | Gold Medal | Pumpkin/Squash Beer or Pumpkin Spice Beer
  • Awards: 2018 Great American Beer Festival | Silver Medal | Pumpkin/Squash Beer or Pumpkin Spice Beer
  • Awards: 2015 European Beer Star, Gold Medal, Herb and Spice Beer
  • Awards: 2015 Paste Magazine, Gold Medal, Pumpkin Beer
  • Awards: 2014 Great American Beer Festival | Bronze Medal
  • Awards: 2012 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal, Pumpkin Beer
  • Tasting Notes: Pumpkin pie spices, natural cinnamon, nutmeg, and real pumpkin
  • Brewer: Whole Hog Brewery by Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, Wisconsin-based, independent craft brewery
A one pint can of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale is reviewed as one of the Best Seasonal Beers in the beer blog Denim Beer Machines & Coffee.
A one pint can of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale, brewed in Hershey,Pennsylvania.

On Top—A Review of Tröegs Master of Pumpkins, One of the Best Seasonal Beers

Autumn marks the return of flannel, bonfires, and the ever-popular pumpkin-flavored beers. In this competitive field, Tröegs Master of Pumpkins Ale has distinguished itself as a top contender.

If you’ve been doing your homework on the top pumpkin beers, you might’ve read my “Fluid List: The Best Pumpkin Beers Ranked,” where I ranked some of the best in the business (or, at least, those I’ve tasted). Master of Pumpkins didn’t just make the cut—it rose to the top, a testament to its craft and flavor profile.

After taking my first sip of Master of Pumpkins Ale, it became immediately clear that it was well-named. Oh, it’s not just a moniker; it’s a statement.

Master of Pumpkins Ale pours with an inviting, thick, creamy, off-white head that immediately catches the eye. The beer itself presents a rich, dark brown hue, evoking autumn evenings and a sense of rustic warmth. On the nose, the aroma delivers subtle hints of cinnamon, clove, and, of course, pumpkin—conjuring a nostalgic blend of fall scents. As for carbonation, it strikes a well-balanced medium, providing just enough effervescence to elevate the complex flavors without overwhelming the palate.

Founded in 1996 and hailing from Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tröegs Independent Brewing has a long-standing reputation for crafting award-winning beers. Among their seasonal offerings, Master of Pumpkins Ale stands out. Every ingredient, down to the longneck pumpkins, is locally sourced from Pennsylvania farms, lending the ale an unmatched level of authenticity.

Master of Pumpkins Ale isn’t just another seasonal offering—it’s a finely crafted masterpiece in the realm of pumpkin ales. If you get the chance, don’t hesitate to try it; it comes with my highest recommendation for an autumnal brew done right.

  • Style: Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 7.5 %
  • IBUs: 30
  • Available: Seasonal, available September through October
  • Awards: 2019 U.S. Beer Tasting Championship – Best of the Mid-Atlantic Spice Beer
  • Grain: Munich, Pilsner, Special B
  • Hops: German Northern Brewer
  • Yeast: Belgian Ale Yeast
  • Tasting Notes: nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla bean
  • Brewer: Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey, Pennsylvania-based, independent craft brewery
A 16-ounce can of Jack's Abby Ray Catcher beer for review as one of the most refreshing craft beers and rice lagers.

Like Sweet Sunshine: Ray Catcher by Jack’s Abby Brewing

Jack’s Abby Brewing’s craft rice lager, “Ray Catcher,” tastes like catching sunshine in a glass. It is both incredibly refreshing and surprisingly exciting. I had to resist the strong temptation of not putting the glass down and guzzling the whole 16 ounces before realizing that it would not be good for this taste review.

This brew makes a delightful first impression with its deep straw-gold appearance. The pour births a playful, frothy head that gradually subsides, mirroring the airy lightness intrinsic to this lager.

As Ray Catcher breathes, it unfolds an alluring aromatic narrative. Initially, the nose detects a subtle combination of spice and light fruit tones. The beer’s palate is an echo of its aroma, with a melody of flavors playing in perfect harmony. Beneath these bold strokes hides a trace of light fruitiness, whispering mysteries to your taste buds.

Despite its light-bodied nature, Ray Catcher possesses an impressive fullness of mouthfeel, thanks to the natural carbonation. This duality turns every sip into an experience; each taste is a fresh revelation that keeps you reaching for more.

Ray Catcher’s refreshingly crisp taste and clean finish are like precious rays of sunshine, meant to be caught, savored, and remembered. Light as a summer breeze yet deep with complexity, Ray Catcher is not just a beer but a liquid embodiment of the sun’s golden touch.

Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale in a tall 16-ounce can, brewed by Talea Beer Co., for a taste review in the blog Denim Beer Machines and Coffee.

Talea Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale

I consider myself fortunate to be a beer lover living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and working in Greenpoint. The two vibrant communities are surrounded by craft brewers and are a paradise for beer connoisseurs, offering a diverse range of distinctive and innovative brews that push the boundaries of flavor.

Talea Beer Co., co-founded by two women, LeAnn Darland and Tara Hankinson, has made a name for itself among the area’s prominent breweries. Its exceptional variety of beers and its Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale are remarkable illustrations of their craftsmanship.

Walking into the Talea Beer Co. taproom is like stepping into a world of beer exploration. The atmosphere is lively, with conversations flowing and the scent of hops permeating the air. The bar is lined with an impressive selection of their own creations, each with its own story and flavor profile. As a resident of this beer-centric neighborhood, I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation whenever I step foot into this haven of brewing excellence.

On my first visit, reading the menu, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale. Its fruity, delicious description depicting a medley of peaches and berries immediately captured my attention.

The Talea Beer Co. flagship brewery and taproom, located at 87 Richardson Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened in March 2021.
The Talea Beer Co. flagship brewery and taproom is located at 87 Richardson Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

I would later purchase a 4-pack from my neighborhood grocery to taste-test and write my review. Looking at the cans, the artwork sets the tone for the sensory excursion that awaits inside.

As I cracked open the can, a burst of fruity aromas wafted up to greet me. The tantalizing scent of ripe peaches and luscious berries filled the air, instantly transporting me to a sun-drenched orchard. It was a promising prelude to what I hoped would be a remarkable tasting experience.

Pouring the Talea Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale into a glass revealed its radiant golden-orange hue, reminiscent of a summer sunset. The effervescence created a delicate white head that dissipated quickly, leaving behind a tantalizing aroma that beckoned me closer.

With my first sip, the initial burst of tartness awakened my taste buds, instantly grabbing my attention. But what followed was a symphony of flavors that danced across my palate. The sweetness of the peaches mingled harmoniously with the tanginess of the berries, creating a delightful balance that was neither too cloying nor overly sour. It was a refreshing and invigorating combination that spoke to the skill and artistry of the brewers.

What truly set the Talea Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale apart was its complexity and vibrant fruit flavors. The finish of the beer was clean and crisp, with a lingering sourness that invited another sip. The light and effervescent mouthfeel further enhanced the refreshing nature of the brew, making it effortlessly enjoyable and easy to drink.

As I savored the last drops of the Peach Berry Punch, I couldn’t help but appreciate the dedication and passion that went into creating this masterpiece. It was a testament to the innovation and artistry that define the craft beer scene in Brooklyn.

For beer enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary sensory experience, this brew is a must-try. So, raise your glass and toast to the wonders of Williamsburg and Greenpoint’s craft beer community, where exceptional brews like this one continue to redefine the boundaries of taste. 

  • Style: Fruited Kettle Sour
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • IBUs: 5
  • Hops: Citra for bittering
  • Malts: 1/2 pilsner 1/2 wheat
  • Tasting Notes: Harmonious blend of tart & tangy with peaches, strawberry, and pink guava 
  • Brewer: Talea Beer Co. – Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based, Craft Beer Brewery
A 12-ounce bottle of Saranac Pumpkin Ale on a white background for a review of the best-tasting pumpkin beers.

Saranac Pumpkin Ale review

As someone who loves fall and all things pumpkin beer, I was excited to try Saranac Pumpkin Ale, a seasonal that captures the flavors and essence of the fall season. The brewery began producing this beer in 2010, with the goal of creating a beer that would showcase the traditional flavors of the season.

The aroma of Saranac Pumpkin Ale is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with a strong sweet and spicy scent that is sure to awaken your senses. On the palate, the pumpkin flavor is balanced with the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. While it does have a mildly bitter finish, the beer remains refreshing and drinkable.

What sets Saranac Pumpkin Ale apart from other pumpkin beers is the brewery’s commitment to using real pumpkin in the recipe. This adds to the authenticity of the flavor and ensures that you’re getting a quality product. The combination of pale, caramel, and Munich malts also creates a nice balance of sweetness and spiciness.

While it may not be one of my very top favorites, I still highly recommend giving Saranac Pumpkin Ale a try. Its sweet and spicy aroma, balanced flavor, and quality ingredients make it a great addition to any fall beer lineup.

  • Pumpkin Ale
  • ABV: 5.4 %
  • 15 IBUs
  • Seasonal
  • Available in 12-oz Bottles (6-packs)
  • Utica, New York-based Family-Owned, Craft Beer Brewery
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