Greenport Harbor Leaf Pile Ale

Greenport Harbor Leaf Pile Ale


  • Sweet and warm spice
  • Bright pumpkin-spice in a rich, malty porter
  • Just the right amount of bitter, sweetness lingers

A nice treat this Christmas, I finally got a Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Leaf Pile Ale. Leaf Pile is billed as a pumpkin ale, but it’s not just one of the best pumpkin ale I’ve had, it’s also the best spiced porter I can ever remember drinking.

Porters are dark beers made with roasted or dark malts. By far, the best-known porters are stouts. Stouts are just the darkest of the dark porters. Leaf Pile is not a stout, but a rich, malty, dark-copper colored beer, full of spices. I’m not sure what type of cinnamon they use, but I believe it’s higher quality than cassia, which is inferior to true cinnamon. Cassia, legally labeled cinnamon in North America, makes pumpkin beers taste flat, but the Leaf Pile is positively sparkly on the palate. According to Greenport Harbor’s Facebook page, the cinnamon is joined with allspice and nutmeg. There’s nothing unusual about those spices in a pumpkin or winter ale, but Greenport Harbor has mixed them into a magic ratio.

I’m sure the growler of Leaf Pile that I got from Whole Foods was the last of the season. And Greenport Harbor Brewing is a small brewery with a limited distribution. But the quality of the Leaf Pile assures me that these guys are on to something big. Now that I’ve finally found my elusive second taste of Leaf Pile, I’m going to seek out the other styles. If anyone finds Greenport Harbor’s Scotch Ale out in the wild, let me know!