Dogfish Head Punkin Ale



October is the magical time of year when brewers from New England to Alaska release their pumpkin-themed beer. Far from being merely a seasonal gimmick, this glorious, golden gourd’s roots as New World brewing ingredient date back to the colonial times when Europeans immigrants experimented with new ingredients searching for fermentable sugars. Like many Americans, I have no idea what a pumpkin tastes like, I just know that it’s a great vehicle for nutmeg, cinnamon, and the rest of usual suspects found under the whipped cream and above the pie crust. Most pumpkin beers follow this tried and true formula, and the Punkin Ale from Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is one of the most popular and most enjoyable examples of the style.

Punkin Ale takes its name from Delaware’s well-known “Punkin Chunkin” contest where this beer recipe won a prize in the days when the brewery’s founder was an amateur homebrewer chasing a dream. A lightly sweet aroma containing nutmeg, cinnamon, and fleeting hints of pumpkin leads to a moderately carbonated ale with a satisfyingly body. On the tongue, the pumpkin pie spice combo is up front with fleeting hints of brown sugar and pumpkin in the background. Pairs great with a cool evening and a goofy costume.

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