Thanksgiving is a special time of the year when families and friends gather together to sit side by side at a table for a lavish feast and to enjoy each others company. Other than the usual items on the menu such as that delicious stuffed turkey, cranberries, yams and all of the traditional foods you could add a special treat to the menu of Pumpkin Ale.
There’s no better time than Thanksgiving to treat your guests to one of the unusual pumpkin beers that are marketed by micro-brewers during this season. Very few of these amber beers are in fact made with pumpkin as part of the recipe. Most are simply laced with warm spices reminiscent of pumpkin pie (cinnamon, ginger, or cloves), but they may lend an amusing and suitably flavored finish to your feast.
Here are a few brands of Pumpkin Ale that may be available in your area. If not, at least you know that there is a such thing as Pumpkin Ale so that you could inquire at your local distributor.
*Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
This is a light to medium-bodied brew that’s more spice than pumpkin. It starts off slightly malty, which thins out quickly. There are definite citrus flavors in it, with some bitterness at the end.
*Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Medium bodied, well balanced, and easy to drink. The sweet/spicy balance emphasizes the latter. In addition to distinct cinnamon and nutmeg, there are some herbal aromas and flavors near the end.
*Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
A light brown beer, with medium to full body. It is malty, with a nice balance of spices. The nutmeg and cloves are somewhat pronounced, but without overwhelming the pumpkin essence, especially in the middle. A bit hoppy at the end.
*Shipyard Pumpkin Ale
This yellow, light beer is fruity – seeming like apples and pears, as much as pumpkin. It is intended as a thinner version of the style, with less body but cleaner tastes. Spices come across as vaguely citrus-like.
*Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale
Like a round brown ale with pumpkin, nutmeg and ginger in it. It’s a tiny bit sweet, but hardly treacly. Very well balanced between the malty flavors and the characteristic spices.
*Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin
This widely available beer, is amber in color and relatively light bodied. It’s a bit sweet at the start – it’s more malt than pumpkin – then dark roasts emerge with cooked-candy flavors. Strong spice aromas, with a dry finish.