Thursday, November 8, 2012

Final Pumpkin Podcast!

[link to podcast page]
WFMU's Beer Hear! with Bob W. and B.R. from 11/8/2012

Our third and final Pumpkin Podcast Panel was recorded in two parts. The first part was recorded on the evening of Oct. 29, shortly after we lost power and heat, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. With our battery powered recorder, an emergency LED light and some candles, we tried Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale and La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado (The Heavenly Pumpkin of Citricado), a "collabeeration" between Stone, The Bruery and Elysian.
Smuttynose was one of the most "beerlike" pumpkin beers out of all 11 pumpkin beers we tried, with discernible hop characteristics. Smutty's fell close in line to the standard pumpkin pie spice flavors that defined versions by Bluepoint, Post Road, Wolavers, and Captain Lawrence, though they all had their distinctions.
La Citrueille, a 5% abv ale, was one of the more non-standard pumpkin beers, with one of the more esoteric list of ingredients: yams, sugar pumpkins, fenugreek, lemon verbena, rye malt (both regular and dark), brown and honey malts, C-15 dextrine malt, birch bark in the whirlpool, New Zealand Motueka hops. It was earthy and a bit herbal, and intentionally far from the pumpkin pie spice characteristics of other pumpkin beers.

In the second part, long after both electricity and heat were restored to our home, we finished the panel with three outstanding beers. We started with the Midnight Sun T.R.E.A.T. (The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment) which wasn't very big on the pumpkin pie flavors, but was rich, dark, heavy, complex and delicious. It's billed as a 7.8% Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. This one's going to end up in the fridge again!

Then, a favorite of mine and a non-favorite of B.R.'s, the Southern Tier Pumpking! This 8.6% seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a sweet, almost buttery/creamy, gingerbready desert of a beer. It is the quintessential pumpkin pie beer. It's pretty much a love it or hate it kind of beer. And while it's not what I'd reach for on a hot summer afternoon, I'm happy to drink it from October through November!
We finished up with a beer from a brewery which you might assume makes nothing but pumpkin beer -- Jolly Pumpkin. Out of the 15 beers they list on their website, only one, La Parcela, is made with pumpkin. Jolly Pumpkin is known for their sour beers, using open fermentation, oak aging and bottle conditioning. La Parcela, which we had from a growler filled at Good Beer, definitely had sourness. But it was a mild sourness, mild spiciness, complimented by earthiness and bitterness -- delicate and complex. This was the lightest bodied beer in the entire panel, and probably the most refreshing.

Hey! An actual pumpkin beer from Jolly Pumpkin!
Out of the entire panel, the La Parcela, Carton, La Citrueille, Oak Jacked Imperial, and Treat were the most "un-pumpkin" pumpkin beers. Smuttynose edged away from the pack with it's unique hop bitterness. For the beers that aimed towards pumpkin pie, Pumpking was a stand out. It was interesting to see how some angled towards nutmeg flavors, others towards cinnamon, and yet others steered away from standard pie spice all together. The variety of the beers -- in color, from pale yellow to near opaque, in ABV, from 5% to 10.31% -- demonstrated that there's a wide range in everything when it comes to pumpkin beer!
Weathering the storm.
La Citrueille.

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