Posted on October 8th, 2009
As we discussed recently, pumpkin beer is by far one of the most popular beers of the fall. Each autumn countless brewers from the smallest craft brewer to the big guys over at Anheuser-Busch release their own take on this seasonal style. With so many different pumpkin beers out there to choose from the task of which one to have next time you’re at your local pub can be a bit daunting. In order to find your favorite pumpkin beer you certainly could simply try a full pint of each brewery’s version of pumpkin beer. With so many out there though that process could take you right through the fall and into winter and spring. A more manageable approach to becoming familiar with a style might be to try a flight.
A flight is several smaller portions of a beer served at the same time, typically four or five glasses containing 4 or 5 ounces each. It’s a great way to try several beers at once without investing a whole night’s worth of drinking, or the money associated with it.
Although still fairly uncommon, many beer bars will offer flights of their draft offerings in any combination of your choosing. One such place here in Boston is Sunset Bar & Grill, where Team Beeriety recently ventured to try some of this year’s pumpkin’s ales. This style typically fall into two schools: beers which taste like actual pumpkins, and beers which taste like pumpkin pie. Although beer which replicates the taste of real pumpkins is generally more difficult and sometimes more respected by beer snobs out there, both types can be wonderful and a great way to celebrate the fall.
Our flights consisted of four beers:
1. Clipper City The Great Pumpkin – At 8.5% Alc./volume this one packs a punch, but with its balanced flavors you’d never notice how strong it is.
2. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin – Another great brew with subtle notes of nutmeg mixed with roasted pumpkin
3. Dogfish Head Punkin – This fantastic brew takes it’s name not from punk rock but an annual pumpkin shooting contest in southern Delaware
4. Wolavers Organic Pumpkin – While this one was a bit sweet, we applaud the effort to make it organic which is tough for many brewers.
They were all great, but the two that we liked the best were Clipper City and Dogfish Head with Weyerbacher coming in a close third. These beers fell into the first school of beer which tastes like actual pumpkins. They each had a crisp, mild sweetness combined with strong pumpkin flavors that gave the beer a clean, roasted quality, which is what we like in a pumpkin beer. We all agreed that Wolavers Oragnic Pumpkin was the least favorite of the batch. Even though it was more of a pumpkin pie beer than a pumpkin beer it was still way too sweet with not nearly enough pumpkin flavor to it. All and all though it was a great way to get a taste of the season and discuss our favorite beers.
Have you ever tried a flight of beer? What’s your favorite pumpkin beer? Next time you have one let us know by tweeting your beer and adding the ‘#mybeer’ hashtag.