Thursday, October 17, 2013

Beer Me: Bourbon and More

For the last several years, pumpkin beers have been king. It seems all my fellow beer drinkers look forward to pumpkin season more than any other seasonal genre. And with good reason! The pumpkin beer is a warming, spicy variety that will not disappoint.

This year, however, it would appear pumpkin alone is not enough. The prevalence of bourbon in pumpkin beers shall not go unnoticed. Lucky for you, I have tried several and many, thanks to the help of our wine club hosts. We took a break from wine in September and went the brew route instead.

They outdid themselves! Let it be known that there were at least 5-6 different 6 packs to try in addition to this line up.......for 2 1/2 people. (The 1/2 being John -- the driver).

From Left to Right: Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale, Ace Pumpkin Cider, Breckenridge After Rakin' Ale, Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking, Southern Tier Warlock and Hoppin' Frog Double Pumpkin.

There was also Kentucky's Pumpkin Bourbon Barrel Ale (unpictured).

I'll skip over the 3 on the left because I've talked about them in years past (do a search on the left-hand side there).

Heavy Seas Great'ER Pumpkin: This was one of the first pumpkin bourbons I tried and it didn't disappoint. At 10% ABV, it's best enjoyed in a snifter to let all the flavors swirl around. What flavors? See below.

From the site: "In the most worthy of pumpkin patches and during the silence of the midnight hour, the Greater Pumpkin raises up and pours a rich deep and burnished orange color.  Heady aromas of bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove linger seductively over the thick white head of this tremendous brew.  Its love at first sip as the full malt body, dominated by British crystal malt, brown sugar and pumpkin, slowly washes over your tongue.  Bourbon barrel aging rounds out the flavors with notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon.  Pairs well with crisp autumn weather, crunchy fallen leaves, and the knowledge that your kids will be asleep soon so you can raid their Halloween candy bags."

Yum, right? Not positive of the price on this. At least $8.99 for 22 oz.I really enjoyed this one.

Southern Tier Pumking: This is really the best ever Pumpkin beer. If you can find it on tap somewhere, try it! The freshness of a draught is insane. The bottle is good too but the flavors from the tap come through so crisply. Lots of spice and lots of pumpkin. I talked about this one last year or the year before as well but I'm too lazy to link back to it.

Southern Tier Warlock: This is a new seasonal offering from Southern Tier's Blackwater series. It's the Imperial Stout version of Pumking so you get a darker, more roasty flavor with the pumpkin as well.

From the site: "Pumpkin Pie laced with coffee and dark chocolate. Smooth, velvety mouth-feel and finishes slightly sweeter than Pumking."

How can you go wrong? If you are stout fan, you'll love this. Also retails for around $8.99.

Hoppin' Frog's, Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale: Not much information on their site so I'll have to trust my taste memory on this one. The pumpkin and spices melded perfectly to pour of a sweet glass. I know I really liked this one for its pure flavors. Went down smooth but not easy on the wallet at $14.99 a bottle.


Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale: John and I were so excited to see this on shelves this season as it is brand new and you know we like to try new stuff whenever possible. We absolutely love their regular bourbon barrel ale and couldn't wait to see what heights the addition of pumpkin could take it to. Unfortunately, this one didn't have enough pumpkin flavor or enough bourbon flavor. It was having a crisis of conscience. I wanted to love it so badly but it fell short for me. It was still tasty but, if you're going to fork over the cash ($14.99-4 pack) stick with their regular Bourbon Barrel Ale. How cute is their jack-o-lantern snifter though?

I'm all tapped out, folks. Which ones have you tried, loved, hated this season?

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