Halloween is 57 days away…or about that, and here I am, already writing about pumpkin beer. There’s something inherently wrong with that.
I like a good pumpkin beer, but I have issues with the fact that I was seeing them as early as a month ago. Let’s face it, they’re seasonal beers for more than one reason, not the least of which is that pumpkins are generally not in season at the beginning of August (so, are we going to begin seeing the first winter warmers in about a month?).
That said, it’s an interesting style….style might not really be the right way to put it. Technically, you can create a pumpkin beer out of any style – IPA, porter, stout, sour, hefe, and so on (although I don’t know the last time I even heard about a pumpkin IPA), although there is a category for spiced/vegetable/herb beer listed in the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) guide. Maybe it would be more accurate to refer to it as an interesting additive, that additive being roasted pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices.
Personally, I like a good pumpkin ale, but I have found that it is a seasonal that people either love or hate. And even within that seasonal, there is debate in regards to favorites (so much so that a person might love one and hate the next), in part because the beers can be so wildly different; Pumpkick, PumKing, The Fear, The Great Pumpkin, Night Owl…no two are the same.
For me, one of the most entertaining aspects of how both the love and hate manifest themselves is in the fact that the reasons, the descriptors one uses when reasoning why he or she loves a particular beer are often the same descriptors used to knock the beer by its detractors;
“I love the Schlafly Pumpkin because it’s like drinking a beery slice of pumpkin pie….”
“”I hate the Schlafly because if I wanted pumpkin pie, I would be eating pumpkin pie….”
The list goes on – too many spices; it’s like drinking a scented candle; not enough spices, it’s too bland; I prefer my beer with just a hint of pumpkin…
The bottom line, just like any other style or seasonal, there’s a flavor to cater to almost all tastes…unless you inherently don’t like pumpkin in your beer. Then there are no pumpkin beers for your tastes.
Tapped and Uncapped
In an effort to further deny an out of season seasonal, I will not be recommending a pumpkin beer in this spot. Instead, this week I’m going to go Dunkel. It’s not on taps yet, but it will be soon – if you find yourself in the neighborhood of one of DuClaw’s locations over the next couple of weeks, keep an eye out for the 31 Spiced Munich Dunkel. Yes, it’s a spiced beer. No, it’s not a pumkin beer.
A little on the sweet side with notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, this is definitely an autumn seasonal, and like a pumpkin beer, there’s little middle ground on the love or hate. The spiced dunkel I think is quite pleasant and worth a try.
Until next week, be well and drink good beer.