Pumpkin beers get so much flak. Honestly, I feel like half of the *~haters*~ are just complaining because pumpkin beers are just like, so totally plebeian and an affront to their white whale beer hunting selves. They’re a treat, the equivalent of a lobster dinner in summer or hot chocolate in the winter. Having lived all over the US and overseas I can say that autumn, and Halloween, are such a distinctly New England things that I can’t help but indulge in every aspect of it. Watching Hocus Pocus with a mug of cider and my cat named Binx, reading “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” carving pumpkins, spending shameless weekends leaf peeping (this weekend I’m going to a giant pumpkin festival), I love it all. Winter is coming, yes, but at least mother nature gives us one hell of a vibrant and burning display of glory before the grey sets in.
I originally wanted to just do local fests and marzen style beers this fall and avoid the pumpkin gamut because we kind of beat it to death in the past, but I’ve had a terrible time finding any at stores nearby, so I decided to review Longtrail Imperial Pumpkin. This beer is from their Brush and Barrel series, coming in at 30 IBUs and 8.0% abv. The recommended glassware as you can tell from above is a skull mug, it really helps bring out the autumnal aromas.
The beer pours a dark reddish with a small 1 finger head, it didn’t last very long but that could be due to my choice of glass, er…plasticware. It smelled like pumpkin, but also reminded me of a Belgian because of the candied spices that are added to the beer as well (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger).
Considering it’s an imperial beer, it wasn’t too heavy. It was easy to drink, and wasn’t overly sweet. The caramel malts used in brewing this are what first hit me, but they segue into a dryer, bready taste that then finishes with pumpkin (duh) and light hints of the spices. It’s a very rich and big beer flavor wise, so I ended up splitting the bottle with someone else. I really wish they made craft beers in 6oz tasting bottles!
Unlike many pumpkin beers the malts are definitely the foundation of this beer. so you aren’t forgoing a quality brew for pumpkin flavor, which I find is what makes many people despite the genre.