Pumpkin flavor is everywhere. It probably started with Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, but then exploded over the last few years with pumpkin flavored everything. They’ll pumpkin spice literally anything. No gas, Trader Joe’s is selling pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds! That’s like chicken flavored chicken! Coffee flavored coffee beans! It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous.
Beer has not left itself out of the party. From Shipyard to Harpoon and beyond, it seems like any self-respecting brewery has a pumpkin beer. I guess we’ll call this “The PSL Effect.” Whether the beer just gets post-production pumpkin flavoring or the more refined production of brewing it with real pumpkin, all pumpkin beers vie for love come fall. Well, actually mid-August, but you get the idea. People guzzle this stuff, but is it even any good?
According to the judges at the Great American Beer Festival, the answer is no, because the top two medals in the pumpkin/squash beer category were not awarded.
The awards philosophy for the Great American Beer Festival states that medals are only given when they’re deserved, which means that most years have at least one category that doesn’t get three winners. Bronzes go out to beers that exemplify the style with minor deviations, but silver and gold are held to a much higher standard. Despite having 10 entries in the new category of Pumpkin or Squash beer, judges awarded a bronze for Butt-Ah Nut by BTU Brasserie in Portland, Ore., but nothing else.
This is not a good look for pumpkin. Like, at all. And in third place it went to a squash beer. SQUASH! Who the hell is drinking squash beer? Nobody. But somehow it’s pulling medals like Aly Raisman (shouts to my girl), and pumpkin’s got it’s stem between its legs. Just can’t even get on the podium like the men’s 4×100 relay team.
There’s a separate “pumpkin spice” category because, well, The PSL Effect, and all three medals were awarded in that category, so not all was lost for pumpkin. But still, losing to squash in the straight up pumpkin category just proves that sometimes adding pumpkin doesn’t make it better.
You can check out the winners from all 96 categories at The Great American Beer Festival. .
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