Monday, November 9, 2009

It's The Great Pumking

Few things can divide a crowd quite the way pumpkin ales can.  Purists will contend that pumpkin ales should be strictly pumpkin-flavored, while others seem to prefer a nice autumnal, pumpkin spice flavor.  Personally, I'm more of a "pumpkin pie" kind of guy, which may be why I enjoyed Southern Tier's Pumking as much as I did.  This one is essentially pumpkin pie in a bottle...with whipped cream on top.

First things first: cool label.  Unfortunately the beer itself doesn't go above and beyond to bring home any style points but simply looking at it won't get me drunk so I'll let it slide.  The color was a nice clear burnt orange but the small bubbly head receded to nothing within minutes with minimal lacing.  The smell, however, was heavenly: sweet and earthy with the spices weighing in significantly heavier than the pumpkin itself.  Mouthfeel was thin and smooth with medium carbonation, fairly typical for the style from my experience.  The taste was candy-sweet and creamy with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg complimenting a very mild pumpkin flavor.  The whole thing is wrapped up by a notable hop presence and mildly astringent finish thanks to the 9% abv.  I personally found it difficult to sip, instead having to fight temptation to go in for the kill and chug the remainder of the glass each time I tasted it.  This is an extremely drinkable brew...

To conclude, if you find yourself on the conservative, squashy pumpkin pulp side of the Great Pumpkin Ale Debate, you'll likely find very little to enjoy here.  To my palette the pumpkin seemed like an afterthought to a variety of seasonal spices.  On the other hand, if you've ever wanted to catch a buzz off a pumpkin pie, this is the beer for you.  Enjoy!

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