Ichabod offers a wonderfully refreshing pumpkin spice aroma that is subtle, and glassware that allows the beer to warm slowly and trap the aromatics is best suited for the beer. A nonic pint glass, tulip, or Willi Becher pub glass are the best choices for Ichabod.
Ichabod pours a bold amber hue with a thin white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a fine layer of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very pumpkin-spice forward but is more subtle than many in this category. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the most pronounced of the spices with backing hints of clove. The taste of cinnamon and nutmeg up front is followed by wonderfully semi-sweet caramel malts that provide perfect balance with clove making an appearance on the back end. The actual pumpkin used in Ichabod provides a very smooth mouthfeel and makes for a pumpkin beer that will not cause palate fatigue instantly. The key with Ichabod is balance and the medium body and moderate carbonation help make this perfectly balanced beer even more drinkable. While pumpkin ales are all the rage this time of year, some can be too heavy handed with spices, but New Holland has a perfect balance among all the ingredients and shows just how great this style can be when done right.
As the temperature begins to fall, the need for warm meals becomes ever more pressing, and a hearty beer goes perfectly with hearty fall dishes. Ichabod has even body and malt presence to find a perfect home when paired with roasted chicken dishes. The malts will instantly gravitate toward the natural sweetness in the dish and the subtle spices will elevate the chicken to new heights. Do not be afraid to pile the recent vegetable harvest high. They will be the perfect accompaniment and bring out the earthy hops locked within Ichabod. Of course, the sweetness of the beer also makes it a great match with a wide variety of desserts but goes exceptionally well with any pumpkin and carrot cake as the spices in both will be the perfect match for the beer.
The Final Word
New Holland has a phenomenal reputation that spans into a wide variety of beer styles. Whether it is their fantastic Mad Hatter IPA or Dragon’s Milk Imperial Stout, the brewery is not shy of flavor and knows how to brew well balanced beers.
Ichabod hits all the right marks for the pumpkin ale style. It has the perfect dosing of spices in aroma and taste and a smooth body with a moderate ABV. These qualities make for a pumpkin ale that is refreshing and highly drinkable without leading to a short night out with friends. While there is certainly no shortage of flavorful imperial pumpkin ales this time of year, there is a shortage of flavorful and moderately sessionable pumpkin ales, and Ichabod fills that need perfectly. Whether you are a fan of Halloween or pumpkin ales, Ichabod is a must try this time of year.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: New Holland Brewing Company
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Where can I get it?: Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Brew House Mini Mart, Peckville; Sabatini’s Pizza, Exeter; The Nyx, Clarks Summit; J & J Deli, Dallas; Summit Market, Clarks Summit; Mrs. D’s, Scranton and Wegman’s, Wilkes Barre.