My initial goal in buying a few pumpkin-themed seasonal beers was to do a side-by-side comparison. However, I’ve realized I have no intention of urging my readers to buy one over another. Instead, I want to appreciate the unique characteristics of each delicious beer on its own. No worrying about picking a favorite or finishing a certain amount of alcohol in one sitting. That said, it’s time to examine Dogfish Head‘s excellent Punkin Ale.
I’ll preface this review by saying that I’m not one of those people who buys every single pumpkin flavored thing that hits the markets in the autumn. I’m not fond of more than a small serving of pumpkin pie, and you couldn’t pay me to drink pumpkin coffee drinks from any establishment. Pumpkin beers were something I was highly skeptical about, but after a few sips from my wonderful partner’s drinks last autumn, I decided that I would give the whole batch a fair chance this year. With that in mind, this Punkin Ale is an excellent beer to start with, since I’m quite well acquainted with many of Dogfish’s other offerings, and I’m sure that many of my readers are as well.
This is my first time sipping on a Punkin Ale, although I imagine I’ll be grabbing a handful of these before their season passes. As a pumpkin skeptic, I was almost relieved to find that the first sniff had hardly any hint of a pumpkin (or otherwise spiced) scent. However, my first sip of this translucent amber-colored ale was a rich whirlwind of brown sugar, nutmeg, and a slight hint of pumpkin. Rather than tasting like a mouthful of pumpkin pie, as many other pumpkin ales lean towards, this is heavier on the spices and sweetness and strikes me as potentially complementary to a slice of pumpkin pie instead of a liquefied form of it. The only real solid pumpkin flavor in this surprisingly potent ale (a whopping seven percent alcohol despite its light flavor) is on the exhale after a sip.
As the next few weeks unfold and we enter October, expect more reviews of excellent seasonal ales. If a beer doesn’t strike me as worth your while, I probably won’t bother to review it. If you see it here, be sure to grab a bottle or two and let me know what you think! Since I’m new to pumpkin beers, I’d love your recommendations. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon with more.