Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cheers to Beer: Pumpkin Beers, Part I

By: Laurie Wallin
Capital Cooking Contributor

Thanksgiving is fast arriving, and pumpkin is everywhere – pies, pasta, and beers! Pumpkin beers have exploded onto the scene recently – but there are now so many, it’s hard to choose. Capital Cooking set out to rank pumpkin beers by holding a blind tasting. 10 beers were selected, including Aleworks Pumpkin Ale, Southern Tier Pumking, Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale, Flying Dog The Fear, Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Wild Wolf Brewing Company Howling Pumpkin, New Belgium Pumpkick, Devils Backbone Pumpkin Hunter and Ithaca Beer Company Country Pumpkin.  To keep the tasting fair, all chosen beers for this tasting were categorized as “Pumpkin Ale.”

Tasters were provided with a score sheet and were instructed to rank the beers with a score from 1 to 10, with 10 being “running out to buy a six-pack” and 1 being “refund, please.” Tasters were also able to provide notes about each beer, including “spicy,” “malty,” “hoppy,” “sweet,” “heavy,” and “light” based on some traditional tasting notes for pumpkin beers. At the end of the tasting, the scores were tallied and a winner chosen. Count down with Capital Cooking as we reveal the best pumpkin beers!

Beer #1: Wild Wolf Brewing Company Howling Pumpkin. Tasters categorized this beer as hoppy, light, and slightly spicy.

Beer #2: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. This beer was overwhelmingly classified by tasters as heavy and malty, with two tasters noting hints of sweetness.

Beer #3: Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Tasters noted this beer to be one of the more spicy ones, also noting hops and maltiness.

Beer #4: Flying Dog The Fear. Tasters overwhelmingly rated this beer as spicy, heavy, and malty, with a few tasters noting hoppiness on the finish.

Beer #5: Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin. This beer was noted to be spicy, hoppy, and light.

Stay tuned for part II of this post as we count down to the winner of the Pumpkin Beer blind tasting!

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