Monday, October 27, 2014
While handing out treats on Friday night you want to have a few tricks up your sleeve - such as enjoying the best pumpkin beer possible. Luckily,brewers showed restraint this year, reversing a trend from last year where many of the seasonal offerings were entirely over-spiced and marginally acceptable at best.
But what stood out most during this October season? Here's one beer geek's suggestions as to how you can conjure up the most for your taste buds in one handful of pumpkin goodness.
1) Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing (pictured at left)
In a universe of complex pumpkin beers, what makes this quaffable and smooth offering stand out is the toasted marshmallow backtaste that adds a vanilla-esque sweetness to the body and allows the cinnamon apparent in the recipe to jolt the roof of your mouth a little but not overwhelm the beer.
2) Dark O' The Moon Pumpkin Stout - Elysian Brewing Co.
This is as bold and spicy as anything you'll find out there. The difference is that the thick, almost sweet-bodied stout envelopes the beer and gives it a firm but soft cushion, allowing you to enjoy the base beer as well as the additives.
3) St. Ambroise Pumpkin - McAuslan Brewing Co.
The biggest surprise of last year remains the easiest-drinking yet highly enjoyable pumpkin beer out there, with just enough hints of pie mix to let you know it's something special but not enough to overpower you.
4) Hey! Pumpkin - Denver Beer Co.
The Denver brewery stepped up its game this year by ramping up the cinnamon and accompanying spices but not to lip-burning levels. This offers pumpkin enjoyment in medium-bodied form.
5) Pumpkin Ale - Upslope Brewing
Many consider this the gold standard of Colorado pumpkin beers, and the reason why is easy to taste - a complexity of both bitter and spicy additives, all swirling around and daring you to identify them.
6) Gordgeous - Hangar 24 Craft Brewery
OK, this is a bit of a tricky one, as the California brewery doesn't circulate to Colorado. But the star pumpkin beer of the Great American Beer Festival adds a creamy body to its heavy melange of tastes, allowing this to go down very easily. Now if only it could get out to the Centennial State as easily ...