I’m the first to admit I’m never thrilled with the idea of Fall spiced beer, especially Pumpkin brews, so buying them is a rarity for me. Having said that, I usually enjoy them immensely when a friend offers me one from their fridge. Maybe I just like the taste of free?
I wasn’t always a beer snob. I started drinking hard cider back home because, let’s face it, it’s sweet and easy to drink. There was no pleasure in having a few beers with friends, it was all about getting buzzed and we all wanted to take the path of least resistance. At 17, that was hard cider. My first sniff of Punkin brought me back to my Bulmers hard cider days (known in the US as Magners). Lots of apples!
Too much carbonation up front, made it a little tough to taste the first sip. There is quite a sweet spice smack when you actually get to taste this one, cleared my sinuses right up. The bitterness hangs back, waiting to rise up and then BANG! it bites you. As the beer progresses, it becomes a little too sweet and sour for me. The pumpkin is definitely present but it’s not overwhelming, in fact it seems a little secondary to the spices which are certainly prominent and personally not my favorite.
Need another (less flattering) image conjured by the aroma halfway through this beer? Early morning after a house party. You know, when you have to go around with a black plastic bag, the construction quality kind because you really really don’t want it to leak, as you dump the assortment of dribble-filled beer cans, almost-empty bottles and various containers from last night’s heavily attended session. Yep. Kinda stinks in the cold hard light of a head-throbbing 8am. There’s a little bit of that acidic stink here. Almost a little vomity. Sorry. Ok, I’ll stop now. Puke-ish. SORRY! I’m done. Very done.
In closing, after losing its over-carbonation and sipping through the spices and acidity, this beer smooths out and goes down easier, probably thanks to the 7% alcohol. For what it’s worth I poured a 12oz bottle for this tasting.
Having just trashed one of Dogfish Heads very successful brews, I’m going to do a flippidy-flop and talk about how much I generally LOVE their portfolio of beer. I was lucky enough to visit their brewery in the summer of 2010 and took a tour. The people were great, the tastings were fascinating (think Theobrama, Palo Santos). Their IPAs are incredible and the story of how Sam started his business was inspiring. If you get a chance to try their Johnny Cask 75 Minute IPA, served on draft after 4:30pm on a Thursday at their brew pub on Rehoboth Beach, I strongly urge you to make it a priority. It was truly fantastic!!!
Shirts? They get a thumbs up from me. Their logo is iconic and deserves some chest time. Currently my favorite shirt in my closet is a Dogfish Head one.
We also tried their spirits at their brew pup on Rehoboth Beach, DE. Please stick to beer guys!