With the pumpkin season upon us, so are pumpkin ales. Pumpkin ales are a tribute to the settlers who used pumpkins in place of malt, which was hard to come by, to brew their beers. Today’s brewers tend to use baking spices in their pumpkin beers to give added flavor, and they capture the time of year when the air has a crisp chill and the leaves are changing color.
Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. in Kentucky goes one step further, they age all their ales in bourbon barrels to add more flavor. Their Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale 10%abv. has an orange copper hue with a quickly fading white head. Nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice hit the nose first. Pumpkin and vanilla follow with some brown sugar sneaking in, smells like a pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven. The bourbon flavors are first to come out on the palate, it is amazing how the beer picks up so many flavors from being barrel aged. Vanilla and brown sugar come out second and the baking spices show up on the finish. The palate reflects the aroma, but in the reverse order. I would drink this would pumpkin pie or drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream right into a glassful. This is a very nice style of pumpkin ale, one of the best I’ve ever had.
Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, DE, Punkin Ale, 7%abv. is billed as a brown ale with pumpkin and baking spices. It has a light brown color with a copper hue and quickly dissipating tan head. Roasted malt and baking spices come through on the nose. The malt and some citrus hit the palate first and followed by cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and just a hint of brown sugar on the back of the palate. This is a nice beer that is less of a dessert and more to enjoy with a turkey dinner with all the fixings. This can hold it’s own with a nice thick turkey gravy, but don’t wait for Thanksgiving, pick up some of this beer to drink now.