Held bottle of Samuel Adams Fat Jack displaying the label.

Samuel Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin

Samuel Adams Fat Jack

  • Brown spices and sweetness. Autumn days and pumpkin pie.
  • Buttery pumpkin, rich and thick.
  • Barely bitter, mild spice

Part of Samuel Adams “small batch” line; available in 500 ml bottles.

I don’t think of myself as ahead of the curve in any way, but I reluctantly admit that I was on the pumpkin beer bandwagon before most folks. I say “reluctantly,” because I’ve been getting a bit tired of the thousands of new or returning pumpkin beers each season, and sort of feel responsible for the inundation every year. Last year, I sang the praises of Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale, but this year, more widely available in bottles, I found it kind of flat and ho-hum. Have I become a beer hipster, jaded to all that’s come before, yawning when someone tells me to try this awesome new pumpkin ale, saying, “It was better last year when it was just available on tap”? Yes, maybe I am.

But there’s always the really new beers, and every October (well, August this year; they’re really expanding the pumpkin beer season), there’s a bunch of new pumpkin beers to try. Yawn. Aren’t we over that phase, I think, tiredly to myself.

Held bottle of Samuel Adams Fat Jack displaying the label.

Pretty great label artwork for normally conservatively designed Sam Adams

Poor hipster Fervere: Bored of a genre of beer that just last year he was enthusiastic about. But even with bleary contempt for one of the most singularly popular styles of craft beer—one that clearly making money for the brewers—I still find exemplary examples of the style. Samuel Adams Fat Jack is one of those. Labeled “Double Pumpkin,” this beer does not merely add cinnamon to a beer to claim it’s a pumpkin ale. Samuel Adams loves to push limits on what they can add, and with Fat Jack they’ve doubled the amount of pumpkin they add to each batch of their regular Harvest Pumpkin Ale. There’s a huge difference. The extra pumpkin makes the beer richer and butterier. The spices, which were not overpowering in the original, aren’t pushed to extremes in Fat Jack either, which was a very pleasant surprise. It’s a just-enough spice experience, complementing the beer instead of being the beer. It has a sweetness and barely bitter finish, which gives the overall impression close to savoriness.

I enjoyed Fat Jack, and hope that when I next try it, it doesn’t have that last-year/same-song feeling that I’m getting from other pumpkin beers this season. I should be clear; it’s not just the pumpkin ales. I’ve lost my desire for pumpkin-flavored donuts, muffins, ice cream, coffee, coffee creamers, candles, and marshmallows, too. Can we admit that most of the time it’s just cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and bit of orange coloring? But when it’s done right, with good ingredients and care for the product, Samuel Adams gives us a good pumpkin beer with their Harvest Pumpkin Ale and a great pumpkin beer with Fat Jack.