Beer Review: The Drowned Lands’s Scythe

Name: Scythe
Brewing Company: The Drowned Lands
Location: Warwick, NY
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer | Foeder Fermented Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.7%

The young Hudson Valley Brewery has crafted one of the best Pumpkin Beers I’ve ever had.

DrownedLands_Scythe

From The Drowned Lands’s feature page for the beer:

Pouring a deep and vibrant orange color, and bursting with all the aromas you’d expect in a pumpkin ale. Brewed with a blend of Vienna and Munich malts as a base, and then layered in Biscuit, Red Wheat, and Spelt malts to give the beer a nice bready pie crust. We then added pumpkin to the whirlpool and fermented it with our house yeast. After fermentation, we conditioned this pumpkin filled pie crust with handfuls of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.

Since I visited the Drowned Lands last summer (2021), I’ve been eager to try more of their beers and while their IPAs are very well-regarded, I wanted to try something outside of a hop-forward beer. When I saw that the newish liquor store down the road from me had this beer in stock, I knew one of my new Pumpkin beers for 2022 would be Scythe. It far exceeded my expectations.

Well, what is Scythe?

The beer pours a translucent orange yellow into my Pumpkinhead glass, fully looking the part of a pumpkin ale. There’s a thin head, maybe the width of a #2 pencil. I take a whiff and the spices come through quite nicely, cinnamon, a little bit of clove, maybe some ginger. So far, so good.

I notice some floaties in the beer, maybe from the pumpkin or the spices? Not a negative point, but something noticeable. That first sip… boy oh boy is that a smooth tasting beer. The silky smoothness I’d expect from a perfectly baked pumpkin pie my made. I’m very impressed with how balanced that first sip of Scythe travels across my palate.

There are prominent elements of cinnamon, clove, and of course pumpkin. Many beers categorized as “Pumpkin” beers simply have the spices associated with Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie. Scythe is made with pumpkin and that shines through in the taste and flavor profile. Nutmeg is listed and often, Nutmeg can leave a fairly strong, lingering aftertaste for me. Thankfully, the fine and talented craftspeople at the Drowned Lands concocted a well-balanced mélange of spices, which prevents any one spice from overpowering the other spices.

Pumpkin beers dominate the shelves from August through October/November to a very overwhelming level. This has; unfortunately, set something of a mark against the style. Early in my Craft Beer Journey, I anticipated pumpkin beer season every year, but that aforementioned early onslaught cooled my eagerness for the style. That said, any style when done well, is worth seeking out. With Scythe, The Drowned Lands may have crafted an ideal Pumpkin Beer. It has near perfect balance of all the elements, lives up to the “pumpkin pie in a glass” moniker, but is still most certainly a beer. If I’m making a Mount Rushmore of Pumpkin Beers, Scythe would very likely find itself on that mount.

Recommended, link to 4.50 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Pumpkin Beer Season (2022)

Pumpkin beers—trick or treat? Yes, this style is polarizing, but love ‘em or hate ‘em pumpkin beers are an iconic part of the fall season. Try giving the gourd some love this October!?

DrownedLands_Scythe

Beer Review: The Drowned Land’s River Birch

Name: River Birch
Brewing Company: The Drowned Lands
Location: Warwick, NY
Style: Pilsner – Other | Foeder Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

“The Drowned Lands has crafted an outstanding, world class Pilsner that transcends the style.”

DL_RiverBirch

From Drowned Lands page for the beer:

Foeder-fermented Pilsner brewed with Weyermann Pilsner Malt and a touch of Weyermann Vienna, hopped with German hops for a floral and spicy balance. As is tradition, this was fermented low and slow in one of our American Oak Foeders, then transferred to stainless where it was lagered to maturity.

We’re tasting grassy lemon pitch, a particularly oaky pile of straw, a mellifluous bouquet of summer flowers, and that little burst of citrus oil you get when peeling an orange.

Another pilsner already? I suppose I’m making up for lost time, but when one visits a brewery on a warm summer day, a Pilsner might be the best test of their quality.

The Drowned Lands had the unfortunate timing to open the same year as the COVID-19 Pandemic, but despite that hinderance, they’ve already received several accolades, including being listed as one of the 10 Best New Breweries of 2020 by USA Today (along with NJ’s own, The Seed in Atlantic City). Before I knew that; however, I’d heard good things about them and one of the former brewers of Conclave Brewing had recently joined Drowned Lands. How could I not visit on the ride down from Cooperstown, NY to home?

Of the beers on tap, I knew I wanted to try their pilsner. It is one of my favorite styles after all and the pilsner is where a brewer’s skill shines. I fondly remember the two pilsners Conclave brewed when Bryan was working there, too.

Look at that beer! Perfect golden approachability, it looks just the way a pilsner should look. Aroma…I think I get some of the earthiness from the oak foeder in which the beer was fermented.

What does the beer taste like? Like nectar from the gods. I’m completely blown away by this beer, it is a perfectly crafted lager. The traditional elements of the German malt and hops are present, but the oak fermenting brings some fresh, new perspective to the old world style.

I enjoyed the beer so much I had to bring home a four pack because it was delicious and my fridge was a little low on pilsners. The next day, I had a pour from the can and it was just as good. Extremely refreshing, potently flavorful, elegantly crafted.

The Drowned Lands is a gorgeous brewery, especially on the day of my visit which was lovely weather. If I lived closer (I’m about an hour and a half away), I’d be visiting them a couple times per month.

To put it in simple terms, River Birch is one of the best Pilsners I’ve ever had. To quote Mat from Massive Beers, this Pilsner is “Mount Rushmore Status.”

Highly Recommended, link to Untappd 4.5-bottle cap rating.

DL_RB_Can