Autumn is an enchanting time in Michigan. The colors of the foliage begin to change and the sun cools. For beer drinkers, the fall is perhaps the happiest time of year. Oktoberfest brews and pumpkin ales flood our local watering holes and line the cooler doors at our favorite corner stores. Year after year, men and women look forward to the first time they lay lip to a seasonal beer brewed specifically to celebrate autumn. However, sometimes that first sip is filled with disappointment.
Greenbush Brewing from Sawyer, Michigan has established a strong reputation for their quality brews. When six-packs first hit store shelves, a lot of places had trouble keeping their products in stock. For a while, the mentality was, "It's Greenbush. It can't be bad," but they can't all be winners. Such is the case with the fall pumpkin ale, Unicorn Killer.
Immediately upon pouring the Unicorn Killer, the aroma of a pumpkin patch hits. Further inspection reveals notes of clove, nutmeg and something resembling a musty pantry. If you're more into the aesthetics of drinking, you'll be pleased with this beer's color, a deep, dark copper with a light, tan head.
As purported by the slightly musty nose, the Unicorn Killer is sporting a flavor profile that is unfortunately dominated by astringency that burns all the way down to your belly. Of course, with pumpkin ales, one would expect their to be some level of spiciness. In the Unicorn's case, the level of spiciness is overkill. Imagine putting a spoonful of ground nutmeg in your mouth.
Now, for the pumpkin character. It's not good folks. Unfortunately, it tastes like the pumpkins used in brewing this beverage were starting to turn. Weighing in with 42 international bitterness units, it is fairly bitter, and the 7.3 percent alcohol by volume is clearly present adding to that esophageal burn. It's not the best showing for the young brewery.
C'mon Greenbush. You can do better than this!