Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Review

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery | Beer: Punkin Ale
Style: Pumpkin Ale | ABV: 7.0%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Dogfish Head Punkin AleFall is upon us once again, so I thought it was appropriate to review some seasonal offerings here on PintLog. Instead of starting with one of the cornucopia of Oktoberfest themed beers, I figured I'd start with something a little different. Dogfish Head is one my absolute favorite breweries, they put out some of the most interesting beers on the market. Known for what founder Sam Calagione calls "extreme beer," Dogfish puts out a portfolio of decidedly non-traditional, high alcohol content, high quality brews.

The Fall Dogfish Head seasonal in Punkin Ale, the company's take on (believe it or not) Pumpkin Ale. In true Dogfish Head style, the description/ingredient list on the bottle is nothing if not intriguing: "A full bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg." Based on my experiences with other Dogfish Head offerings, I have some pretty high hopes for this beer. The bottle blurb has me practically drooling, so without further adieu (what exactly is adieu, anyway?) let's pour a bottle.

Appearance: Crystal-clear with a brilliant copper orange hue. A somewhat fizzy finger-width head that fades into decent lacing.

Aroma: Just like a freshly baked pumpkin pie - spicy, lots of pumpkin (obviously), and big doses of sweet brown sugar. It smells exactly how you might imagine while reading over the ingredients. Quite appetizing.

Taste: Brown sugar sweetness and pumpkin up front with a nice spicy nutmeg and cinnamon finish. The beer underneath these flavors is somewhat bitter with sweet and bready malt. You can definitely detect that seven percent booze from time to time, but it's certainly not overpowering. Usually, I'm not a big pumpkin fan, but I really love it in this application. It doesn't really taste like a Brown Ale underneath, more like a malty Pale Ale.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and velvety with a good amount of carbonation. It finishes nicely with the slick feeling you get with higher ABV beers.

Drinkability: Despite the somewhat nontraditional flavor combination and moderately high alcohol content, I'd be more than happy to sit and throw back a four-pack of this over a Fall evening. One of the more sessionable Dogfish Head creations I've tried (for example, it would take quite long night for me to finish a pack of Raison D'Etre).

Verdict: While Pumpkin Ales are nothing new, I knew when I saw the neon orange pack adorned with the shark icon sitting on the shelf, I'd be in for something special. Punkin did not disappoint. Without a doubt, this is the best Pumpkin themed beer I've ever tasted. As I've come to expect from Dogfish, this beer is lavish, complex, and above all, unique. These are the kinds of beers that leave such an indelible impression on me that I can almost summon their taste just by thinking about them. Brilliant.

Grade: A


Unknown said...

Glad to hear that someone else appreciates this beer. I fell in love with this beer last fall when I tried it at The Flying Saucer in Houston. Just enough pumpkin flavor and all the right spices.

Unknown said...

The Flying Saucer is a really cool bar! So many beers on tap to try.

J said...

Great blog man. Pumpkin' Ale is my all-time favorite. Heading up to the factory in 4 weeks and I'm going to buy enough to last me the whole Fall and Winter.