Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Southern Tier Pumking

Brewery: Southern Tier, Lakewood, New York

Style: Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 9%

Rating: 3.5 Stars

If you asked me to guess the color of this beer before I poured it, I would have gone with a deep mahogany or a burnt sienna. Something rich and hearty, with a prominent clove or cinnamon scent.

Instead, this one comes out near-neon orange. And this is not meant to be a smells-like-your-grandma's-kitchen pumpkin beer. This is meant to be a smells-like-pumpkin-guts beer.

You have to hand it to Southern Tier, so far my favorite brewery of the year. When they do a style, they go balls out, pumping as much true flavor into their beers as possible. I'd hate to see their jacked-up version of a pale lager.

So, there is major pumpkin aroma from the sizzle of the popped cap. There also is a subtle banana bread smell, which confused, but intrigued me. It smells pretty darn good. And it tastes pretty good too, for a while. One bomber (22 oz) of this is almost too much to handle, and I even split this one. The pure pumpkin, as opposed to a sweeter, more rich-flavored pumpkin ale, leaves a fairly hefty taste in your mouth, one that you can't exactly wash down with another swig.

Many of the ST offers I'd recommend whole-heartedly for mass consumption. Many others, however, I'd encourage you to try once, share it with a group, and leave it for the next curious drinker. This one falls into the latter category. It was unlike any other pumpkin beer I've had, and is worth trying, but it is so strange that I'm unwilling to say it's uniqueness was for the better.

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