I did a quick survey of our tags today, and was a little surprised that we’ve only reviewed 2 beers by Delaware’s Dogfish Head. And for all our opinions on pumpkin beers, we’ve reviewed a disappointing 5 (though I see another was posted as I write this, so we’re up to 6). So I opted to grab this one out of the cooler to try tonight.
As far as why we haven’t written many DFH reviews, I guess that’s down to their success. In the 3 years we’ve been writing this blog, they’ve seen tremendous success and are now nearly ubiquitous it seems in any restaurant that has anything “craftier” than Sam Adams. Maybe we’ve felt they didn’t need the press. All that said, this one is worth a try.
Punkin’ pours a nice orangey-copper color with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it head. I had to move fast to reposition the camera to get a picture of it. It laces the glass a little bit and otherwise appears fairly clear with little carbonation. Some fairly typical pumpkin ale smells in the glass. Pumpkin (duh), cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar, maybe molasses. Not overpowering, but I definitely smelled it standing up with the glass on the table when I poured it. OK, now for a taste.
It’s got a little bit of an oily mouth-feel, and the carbonation is actually higher than I expected. The spices are a little more prominent than I thought they’d be including some peppery notes I wasn’t expecting at all. It’s got some bready sweetness, even a little vanilla towards the back and a nice hop bite. The pumpkin flavor is there, but it takes a back seat to the spice notes and the hops.
At 7% it’s not exactly a session beer, but I’d definitely have a second if I were out and found it on draft. I wasn’t bored or underwhelmed as I am with so many pumpkin beers. I’ve stopped trying to predict which pumpkin beers people will like; I’m a fan of the bigger imperials in part because I’m usually one and done with flavor beers, and I like a lot of flavor, but I think this one is worth a try if you find it in the wild or want to venture off the Blue Moon/Shipyard Pumpkinhead bunny slope.
Vital Stats: Bottle poured at 48F into that thar DFH glass. 7.0% ABV.
Taste: B+ An nice and unique take on this style, and like I said, I wasn’t bored.
Drinkability: A- Went down easy, almost sessionable but for the ABV.
Packaging: B Dogfish has their recognizable label style for most of their 12 oz bottles (though some deviate from it inexplicably like the excellent Burton Baton). A little info, a little swagger.
Value: C- $10.19 for a 4 pack. It’s a pricey beer. I didn’t like it enough to get it all the time at that price. One four-pack a season is about where I’m at with this beer. Now that I think of it, I can’t remember ever seeing it available on draft.