I love fall. I love fall beers. When a brewery gets a pumpkin-flavored beer right, I love pumpkin beers. One brewery to get their pumpkin beer right is, of course (because they get everything right), the good folks at Dogfish Head. I picked up a couple of bottles of the Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale at Treats in Wiscasset on my way back to Portland from our cottage in New Harbor and enjoyed them before dinner last evening.
Unlike the local favorite pumpkin-themed beer, the Dogfish example is subtle and well-balanced. The pumpkin flavor — which comes from the use of real pumpkin meat — and the spices used — brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg so says the label — balance perfectly with the malty, biscuity sweetness. I have to think that BeerAdvocate.com’s Todd Alstrom was referencing our local pumpkin beer directly when he said this of the Dogfish Head Punkin,
Hands down this is the best bottled pumpkin brew I have ever had, it is nice to see a brewery have enough courage and inspiration not to brew a pumpkin soda-beer.
This is truly a special autumn ale to take your time with, sip and enjoy. Both in the nose and the taste, the beer is tangy, sweet, and the perfect kind of spicy. It’s not going for an over-the-top, in-your-face pumpkin pie flavor, but more of a warm spiced pumpkin cake. It looks great, with a great burnt orange body and a nice thick head which left lacing on the sides of the glass as long as there was beer in the glass.
I have to say that this is one of my favorite and probably the most well-balanced seasonal specialty beers I’ve ever had the privilege of drinking (or at least right there near the top). The Dogfish Punkin comes in cute little four packs and weights in at a modest 7% ABV – just enough alcohol to warm you up on a cold fall evening, but not too much to really slow you down. I can’t think of a better evening than a 4-pack of this beer, some comfort food and some late-season baseball or a good game of college football! Here’s what Dogfish founder Sam Calagione has to say about his Punkin Ale: