This post comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma associate and beer enthusiast Dennis Ayles.
The pumpkin beer tasting continues! When I began reviewing some of this year’s pumpkin brews, I found the tasting profiles fell into three categories: sweet as pumpkin pie; roasted and a bit savory; and lastly, eggnog, move over.
Check out my reviews of the “sweet as pie” beers here, then keep reading below for my top picks in the second category — roasted and savory.
|Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin AleImmediately after pouring this ale, I could tell it was going to be different from the other pumpkin beers I had tasted. Initially I thought this one was going to lack taste, since the nose wasn’t very strong. Luckily, that wasn’t true. This amber beer wasn’t overpowered with spices but had a subtle roasted taste with great weight as it rolled over the tongue, finishing slightly bitter.
|Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin PorterWhat a great idea this was! Seeing only ales and lagers out there, I quickly grabbed this porter to taste — and I’m glad I did. On the initial pour I couldn’t detect any spices, but as I drank it, I began to smell them slightly. What I loved about this one was how the pumpkin wasn’t “in your face.” The initial flavors were of roasted malts and chocolate, as you’d expect in a porter, but it finished with a quiet roasted pumpkin taste. The slower you sipped this beer, the better it became.
|Tommyknocker Brewery Small Batch Pumpkin Harvest AleThis beer poured the darkest of all the ales I tried, as was evident in the beige head. Molasses was the the most predominant ingredient, but it allowed for a nice burnt crust aroma. At the beginning I couldn’t get past the molasses, but as I continued to drink, a nice roasted pumpkin taste began to emerge and made for a very pleasant experience.
|Cisco Brewers Pumple DrumkinThe deep orange hue of this beer matches the season and flavors perfectly. Instead of featuring the overpowering tastes of pumpkin pie, this brew left you with a nice roasted pumpkin flavor, accented with a hint of piecrust.
|Dogfish Head Punkin AleNo pumpkin beer list would be complete without this brew, one of the most sought-after each year. This was the first beer Dogfish Head ever produced; founder Sam Calagione entered it in the Punkin Chunkin recipe contest in 1994 and won first prize. I truly enjoyed this beer, since it really showcased the pumpkin and added just enough spice so it didn’t taste like pumpkin pie. I understand all the craze around this beer. If you want to try it, run out now — they try to produce enough to last until Thanksgiving, but it usually disappears by Halloween.
About the author: Dennis Ayles, from Inventory Management, is our resident beer expert here at Williams-Sonoma. He keeps everyone up to speed on the latest trends, his favorite brews and what we should be drinking.