A Sampling of Pumpkin Ales

With a month into autumn, after having devoured numerous pumpkin-flavored goodies, we thought we’d join in on the exploration of the various pumpkin ales. Although the selection was impressive, we chose several based on brewery, ABV, and name (clearly, a very scientific method.) Below, we describe our thoughts on five pumpkin-flavored beers: Evolution Craft Jacques Au Lantern, the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, 21st Amendment’s He Said Tripel, and Flying Dog’s The Fear.

Beer: Jacques Au LanternJacques Au Lantern
Brewery: Evolution Craft Brewing Company
State of Origin: Maryland
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 6.30

This mildly carbonated ale has a relatively subtle pumpkin taste. The spices are evident in the aroma and taste, but the caramel-colored liquid is more watery than creamy. While the taste is certainly not unpleasant, it’s also not very distinctive.

 


Beer:
 Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Company
State of Origin: Pennsylvania
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 8.00

This ale had a beautiful amber color. The spices, especially cinnamon, and pumpkin were definitely prominent, and the taste lingered on the tip and sides of the tongue. On first impact, the carbonation was strong, with the alcohol being slightly apparent (especially with larger gulps.) Overall, this ale is heavier on the pumpkin and spices than some of the other pumpkin beers on this list. It provides an enjoyable warmth on a pleasant autumn evening.

Pumpkin ales

Beer: Punkin Ale
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
State of Origin: Delaware
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 7.00

The Punkin Ale was considerably less spicy and more smooth than the Imperial Pumpkin Ale. It was also less carbonated and easier to drink. The color was bright orange and hazy, and the head was on the larger side. It was definitely enjoyable to drink.  If you’re looking for a tasty but smoother pumpkin beer that only hints at pumpkin and spice, then this ale is for you.

 

1025140045Beer: He Said (Tripel)
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
State of Origin: California
Style: Tripel
ABV%: 8.20

He Said is not a pumpkin ale, but it is brewed with pumpkin and various spices. Because of this, it is quite different from all of the ales on this list. The taste is very much that of a Tripel–bitter and acidic, with a particular bite and a hint of spice. The aftertaste is sweeter when gulping, while spicy when sipping. The pumpkin, however, is not very apparent.

Beer: The Fear1026140005a
Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery
State of Origin: California
Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 9.00

Oh, so sweet! This ale is delightfully dark brown, with a large head, and tastes incredibly malty. It smells like spice, which creeps in slowly after the sweetness has settled all throughout the mouth. The beer is mildly carbonated and easy to drink. Although it’s an impressive 9.00%, the alcohol does not permeate the taste. If you’re a fan of malty, stronger beer, this is definitely worth a try. While the pumpkin is not especially noticeable, the spiciness and sweetness of this ale make it an enjoyable choice.

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Beer Glasses

Were you ever curious about the various types of glassware used to serve beer? For the longest time, I thought that certain glasses were used simply to make the beer look more…fancy. Although that may be one of the resulting effects, it’s not the primary reason. It turns out, choosing the the type of glass you use can really make a difference when it comes to the tasting experience. The type of glass impacts the head development, and therefore aroma, of the beer, making the experience more unique and enjoyable. A specific type of glassware is recommended for various beer styles. Here are three that you have probably seen/used before:

beerglasses

Snifter
This type of glass, usually used to serve brandy, is especially great for enjoying the aroma of a beverage. The wide bowl allows for swirling of the liquid, which awakens the volatiles and makes them more pronounced. Recommended for use with strong ales, such as Imperial IPA, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Eisbock, Russian Imperial Stout, and Quadrupel.

Pilsner
A tall and tapered 12-ounce glass, the pilsner is perfect for displaying the color and clarity of a beer. It is also shaped in a way to maintain the head of the beer. Recommended for use with various lagers, such as pilsner, maibock, and American Amber Lager.

Tulip
This glass is tulip-shaped, with a pushed out top that captures the head of the beer. This glass enhances volatiles, and promotes the formation of a large head. In other words, it allows for an overall pleasurable experience for the senses. Recommended for use with various aromatic ales, such as American Imperial IPA, American Wild Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Lambic, Saison, and Scotch Ale.

So not only is the tasting experience affected by the aroma, mouthfeel, carbonation, temperature, etc….the glass too?! All the more research to do.

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