Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
“All Hallows Eve is a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent. It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale. Not so, but it is with great respect to the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer. Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun. At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking.”
There is a slight chill in the air and autumn is just around the corner which means so are the great seasonal fall beers. Personally, I do enjoy fall beer quite a bit, but only when this chill arrives. I think this is the only time I think it should be consumed. It is for this reason I hate that some pumpkin ales are released in July and August. Now that I am jumping off my soapbox, I want to start reviewing some of these great beers.
The first is from a brewery that has been doing a pumpkin ale before it turned into a fad. Southern Tier is an awesome brewery in upstate New York that has been putting out their pumpkin ale Pumking for years along with a number of other great beers. Pumking has traditionally only been available in 22oz bombers and on tap, but this year they began releasing their popular seasonal ale in 4 packs of 12oz bottles, so lets dig into one.
The beer pours a beautiful golden amber with about a half-inch of white head that quickly recedes to nothing. The nose reminds you of desert at Thanksgiving with strong pumpkin notes and hints of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. The taste is still heavy on the pumpkin, however the spice notes are much lower. Under the pumpkin and light spice flavor there are notes of caramel malts and light hops rounding out the beer. The beer is medium bodied with slight carbonation and just enough hint of booze to warm you up on a cool fall night. This is one of my favorite pumpkin beers because it doesn’t go over the top on the spices like some of the pumpkin ales on the market. They do however don’t hold back on the pumpkin and for that reason the beer is pretty sweet and I recommend it for pairing with desert rather than with dinner unless that dinner is Thanksgiving. I personally think it also pairs well with a very sharp cheese like a good cheddar.