Ever since I started down the Craft Beer road a few years ago, I have had a difficult time embracing the Pumpkin Ale beer style. While many of them smell delicious, I have found the actual flavors to be somewhat disappointing. Where does all that spicy goodness in the nose go? Is this a case of my expectations being too high, or do I just not understand what Pumpkin Ales are all about?
Let’s face it, beer tasting, like virtually everything else in life, comes down to personal preferences. That being said, I am always on the lookout for a new and interesting beer to try, so when I hear people rave about a particular beer, I occasionally get caught up in the enthusiasm and head out to do some beer hunting so that I can see for myself what all the fuss is about. One such beer that keeps popping up on the interwebz at this time of year is the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.
I haven’t had the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale in over three years. When I first had it, I was tasting many a Pumpkin Ale, but while I found most of them to be quite disappointing, I remember this one being quite good. When I ventured to The Foodery for a mixed six pack this past Friday, The Punkin Ale was on my shopping list, so when I saw it in the beer fridge, I decided to pick up a bottle.
Here is what Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head has to say about this seasonal beer:
Let’s get on with my impressions of this Craft Beer from the good people at Dogfish Head…
- Appearance: Clear auburn color. Oodles of small, fast rising bubbles. Quickly dissipating foam that tops off at about an inch, but then disappears completely. Very little lacing.
- Aroma: The label on this beer does not lie. They say it’s brewed with real pumpkins, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and they aren’t kidding. It’s all there, though not as overpowering as you would think. All quite subtle. Not much in the way of hops.
- Taste: Light mouthfeel and carbonation. Starts off with lots of roasted maltiness that’s backed up with all of those pumpkin pie spices, but again, in a very subtle way. A bit of bitterness kicks in at mid palate. The moderately high alcohol content shows up at the end and leads you to a mildly spiced bitter finish. Slightly vegetal aftertaste. Guess that must be the fresh pumpkin talking to me.
- ABV: 7%
As far as Pumpkin Ales go, the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is definitely one of the better ones that I’ve had. It’s very smooth and easy drinking, but with just a hint of booziness to remind you that it has a moderately high alcohol content. While I definitely enjoyed this beer, that doesn’t mean I loved it. For whatever reason, I still can’t wrap my head around this beer style.
If you’ve had this beer, please share your thoughts, and provide me with further Pumpkin Ale insights. Thanks in advance for all your help!