I’d Tap That: Linus isn’t the only one who waits for the Great Pumpkin
Glassware: The Great Pumpkin has an alluring aroma with textbook balance of spices and malts. A snifter glass is the first choice as it allows the beer to warm slowly while trapping the aroma perfectly. A nonic pint glass will also suffice if a snifter is not available.
Description: The Great Pumpkin pours an orangish amber hue perfect for the fall season with a whispy white head that dissipates quickly leaving little to no lacing on the glass. The aroma is spice forward with dominant notes of cinnamon, clove, and ginger followed by hints of allspice with backing notes of sweet malts. From the aroma it may seem the spices will dominate, but instead, they are perfectly balanced with malts for a beer that truly tastes like creamy pumpkin pie without residual sweetness. The balance within this hefty beer is impressive and despite the sweet flavors it does not fatigue the palate. The full body aids in the creamy, decadent qualities while the moderate carbonation provides enough to scrub the palate clean between sips. While many imperial pumpkin ales become spice bombs and lose their balance, Elysian has brewed a truly world class imperial pumpkin ale. After one sip this may become your new go to fall seasonal beer.
Food pairing: Imperial pumpkin beers tend to be a bit heavier with spices and can overpower many pairings with dishes. However, despite the strong spice flavor and aroma The Great Pumpkin has an easy drinking factor which makes it great to pair with hearty fall dishes. Try it with a bowl of chili and feel free to add in your favorite fall gourd as well for a unique twist. The spices in the chili will be the perfect match against the sweetness of the malt with the pumpkin spices melting into the dish making for a perfect pairing. Pork chops also make for a wonderful pairing with the natural caramelization from the meat settling perfectly into the malts. The beer has enough heft to scrub the palate clean between bites. While this beer certainly has a sweetness to it, it is not overwhelming. The beer still goes well with desserts especially those of the pumpkin persuasion. A truly breathtaking pairing is with a cider donut; the beer’s cinnamon spice notes and graham cracker-like malts will make this dessert pairing a true fall experience that will not be forgotten.
The Final Word: Elysian Brewing Company loves pumpkin beers. Each year it hosts the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, this year it is on Oct. 8. During the fest a lot of different pumpkin beers are poured. There are pumpkin related activities and it is a true sight to behold for lovers of the fall season. The love for pumpkins truly shines though when you try one of Elysian’s pumpkin beers. The Night Owl has been a favorite for for a number of years. When it first decided to brew The Great Pumpkin, it was the first imperial pumpkin ale. This style has taken off, with a slew of others brewing imperial versions, but The Great Pumpkin will always be the first and more importantly, one of the best. If you are the type who enjoys pumpkin beers during the fall season this is a must try.
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- Elysian Brewing Company
Beer- The Great Pumpkin
Style- Fruit/ Vegetable Beer