by Kevin M. Smith

Let’s face it. Pumpkin beers are controversial. For the most part, it seems like people generally love them, or they hate them.

Me? I hate that the first ones drop at the end of July so some brewery can say that they dropped first. It drives me nuts. Maybe it’s the traditionalist in me. I like my seasonals to drop during the season they were intended for – and let’s face it, pumpkin beers were harvest ales were intended for, well, harvest.

Personally, I feel Pumpkin beers can be hit or miss. I hate some that others love, and love some that others hate. And there’s nothing wrong with that – everyone’s taste is their own.

And on that note…I have personally found that the pumpkin brews that I have enjoyed the best have been sours. It started a few years ago with a lovely pumpkin sour by Boulevard, and continued this year with the (name not withstanding) Dutch Oven – Pumpkin Pie Haircutted Freak by Rough Edges in Waynesboro, PA.

The typical pumpkin beer, and maybe this is what engenders the hate, is made to reflect a slice of pumpkin pie. Schlafly does a great job of this (and for those of you who might have picked up a sixer of that, try one with a scoop of high quality vanilla ice cream and make yourself a beer float – it’s quite lovely), but that sweet pumpkin pie thing can get a little old.

Rough Edges gives us a tart brew, nicely balanced by that hint of pumpkin pie spice. Wildly dinkable, this is a fun take on the traditional harvest beer, and worth the trip to Waynesboro for a pint – and a crowler to take home.

As an aside, while this is not one of the beers Rough Edges is canning for distribution, their beer has recently become available in Maryland. Definitely look for them, and pick up a four pack when you’re grabbing some of your favorite Maryland beer at your local bottle shop.

Until next time, be well and drink good beer.