I typically gravitate to Octoberfest beers this early in the fall. I love the style, the simplicity, the super smooth, mellow flavors, even the color. I find them an excellent transitional beverage from the brighter, hoppier summer ales that are enjoyed before their arrival.
But, oddly, I was in a pumpkin mood this week.
No idea why. Maybe seeing pumpkin beer on the shelves for the last TWO MONTHS finally wore me down. Maybe the pumpkin glitterati finally succeeded in turning me. Maybe its because my wife went to Syracuse and I've been programmed to love Orange. Whatever the reason, I caved and went pumpkin.
But which pumpkin to choose? There's, like, 10,000 different pumpkin beers on the shelves right now- pumpkin ale, pumpkin stout, pumpkin spiced, imperial pumpkins, pumpkin lagers! It's too overwhelming.
In times of trouble (or in this case- a time of wicked indecision)- stick with
what you know- I went with a Dogfish Head Punkin'. Dogfish rarely lets you down as a beer drinker. They brew outstanding beers in a wide variety of styles, and nine times out of ten I've loved the Dogfish beer in my glass.
So it was with eager anticipation that I poured my first pumpkin ale of the season.....
Dogfish Head Brewery
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Punkin' Ale pours a brilliant reddish brown, clear, with a strong 3 fingers of puffy white head.
Punkin' Ale is a spiced pumpkin ale, which is abundantly clear from one cautious sniff. I get a spicy nose full of nutmeg and allspice. Subtler notes of cinnamon and malts are brought out with a gentle swirl of the glass.
Body is on the moderate side, almost full. And bubbly.
Taste follows the nose- lots of nutmeg and allspice again, with the pumpkin worked in underneath in a surprisingly understated manner. Hops and malts are hard to find here, there is so much spice that it's a bit overwhelming.
Finish is mildly hop bitter- the first clear evidence of a hop presence in this brew, albeit awash in pie spices.
I want to love this beer. But I don't. It's a good beer. But I personally found it over spiced for my particular taste. Too much pumpkin spice and not enough of the pumpkin itself. A decent enough beer to be sure, but I prefer my pumpkin ales either sweet or savory. The spiced variety just doesn't do it for this drinker.
How do you like your pumpkin beer? Spiced? sweet? Tell me about it- leave a comment!