I’m giddy when September arrives. Cooler temperatures and autumn colors indicate its that time again: time for liquid pumpkin pies. This fall, the new kids on my block of pumpkin ales are the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale and the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. These spicy seasonals are members of my favorite family of beers.
The Weyerbacher is touted on Barley’s menu in Greenville as “the Daddy of all Pumpkin Ales.” It’s not just the daddy. It’s like the Scut Farkus of all pumpkin ales. At 8% ABV, it will kick your goggle-eyed ass until you scream “Uncle!” Do not drink this beer on an empty stomach. (I know.) It’s a sippin’ beer. The ale is deep amber, almost ruby in color. The aroma is cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The first taste is sweet, caramelly malt and pumpkin, then finishes with well-balanced spice and hop bitterness. It’s pumpkin pie in a glass.
I also recently picked up a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (7% ABV) at Bruisin’ Ales in Asheville. Similar to its name, and matched up against the Weyerbacher Imperial, is a punk kid, actually—more like Farkus’ little toady sidekick. It won’t knock you out, but it’ll jeer at you. The ale is light caramel colored and has a spice aroma (cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.) The ale is not as full-bodied as the label says. The taste is initially malt and brown sugar and then diminishes quickly. It’s still an easy-drinking beer.
The Punkin is not as robust or creamy as the Weyerbacher, which is an unfair comparison since it’s match-up does have the word “Imperial” in its name. Overall, the Punkin is a solid, session pumpkin ale.
As long as pumpkin ale is in season, all is well with the world.