I’ll see Brother Barley’s 3.5-hop-rated pumpkin/octoberfest lager session beer and raise him a 3.5-hop-rated 8.8% ABV imperial pumpkin ale! The folks at Old Bag o’ Nails Pub in Upper Arlington, Ohio have been rotating this one through their craft beer taps for the last month or so. It’s served in what our too-cool-for-blogging friend Pappy O’Caniel would call a “shnifter”–a strike against it since I am biased against draught beer in volumes less than 16 ounces (no matter how tanked it gets me). And it’s a pumpkin ale. But other than that it was pretty damn good.
Pumking is, as you would expect, a seasonal release by Southern Tier. The shnifter was full of an orange, translucent brew with a thin head and minimal lacing (its disappearance was probably aided by the goblet-shaped glass). It smells like pumpkin pie–enough said, right? It is light to medium bodied with relatively little carbonation.
What makes this beer stand out from its Cucurbitaceaen peers is, first, its sweetness, which compares to well-rounded imperial red ales like Oskar Blues Gordon, and second, its lack of a rotten jackolantern aftertaste. The subtle pumpkin flavors blend very well with the healthy dose of malt sugars, making Pumking dangerously quaffable, though a little sweet for my taste.
Like Barley’s take on the Terrapin Pumpkinfest, I’m doing my best to rate Pumking within its genre. I can’t swear I would order another of these. And I definitely don’t get the rush to the pub when it comes out every fall. But it’s pretty damn tasty.
I second Barley’s wishes to all for a Happy Halloween, whether you’re hitting the town as slutty Elmo or taking your little ones to the local pumpkin patch.