Anyone that knows me knows that I adore anything pumpkin. I think it comes from growing up in New England. Fall has always been my favorite season; the weather starts getting crisp, the leaves begin to change color and pumpkin delights start appearing everywhere. Now that I am older my love for pumpkin has met my appreciation for beer and it has become my quest to find well made and delicious pumpkin beers. SO, I thought I would break down some of my recent favorites I have tried:
My absolute favorite...and of course the one I can't seem to get a hold of on the West Coast is Southern Tier's Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Pumking has the ability to embody all that is warm and comforting and displays flavors of a spicy pumpkin pie; cloves, allspice, cinnamon and fresh pumpkin, and a kick of hops all without being too sweet. It is extremely well balanced. Another charming fact about Pumking is it comes in 22oz bottles (and is 8.8%abv) so there is more to love if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some!
Coming in second for me is Dogfishhead's Punkin Ale (7%abv) I discovered Punkin on a recent trip to Bev-Mo as I was on the hunt to find as many pumpkin beers as I could. I did find a few others, but honestly they aren't worth mentioning as they were either too sweet, or oddly enough...just plain clumsy in their execution. Punkin however is a beautifully full bodied ale with hints of roasted pumpkin and brown sugar and almost a kiss of orange on the finish. Yes, Punkin is available on the West Coast but I still have come across difficulty acquiring it due to it's cult following. So I would advise to get at least 2-4 packs if you do find it, as it will only be available until around Thanksgiving.
My third and final pick was an absolute surprise to me as I walked past a cooler at Target just today and noticed a Samuel Adams Harvest Beer 12-pack (of course only available for a limited time!) that contained Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale (5.7%abv)! This is extremely exciting to this former Bostonian girl who loves Samuel Adams! What a wonderful treat! For Sam's Harvest Pumpkin it is brewed with over 11 pounds of pumpkin per barrel and has a roasted, and almost smokey quality to it due to the smoked malts and finishes with a subtle ginger note.
If you have found any of these fantastic brews and are wondering about some food pairings I'd suggest any of these for your Thanksgiving meal of roast turkey. How about Dogfishhead's Punkin with Duck a'la Orange!? Or...of course on their own to enjoy as a seasonal treat!