Friday, January 27, 2012

Oak Aged Pumpking

Pumpking is, hands down, my favorite beer.  This past fall, I held a blind taste test of 19 different pumpkin ales and Pumpking won by a mile. So when I heard that my local beverage center had a limited release oak-aged version on tap, I ran down and filled a growler for personal consumption.  At $22, including the bottle, it was not cheap, but I was hoping to have an outer body experience with this beer.  As soon as I got home I poured myself a nice big glass:

It pours similar to the original with a small head that dissipates quickly.  The oak has the same sweet caramel smell of its predecessor.  The first sip is sweet with a nice alcoholic bite.  A complex combination of tastes is roaming around my mouth.  The sweetness prevails but the woody taste is present.  And it’s that oaky flavor that lingers in my mouth the longest.  I’m not sure I like this as much as the original.  It is definitely a little more complex, but it’s the after taste that is remembered most.  It’s hard to put my finger, or my tongue, on exactly what I’m experiencing.  I’m reminded of painting my deck and the strong chemical smell of the paint thinner I used to clean the brushes. I guess some people like this experience, but I can’t say that I’m one of them.  It seems that this is a case of leaving good enough alone.

I am not about to dump the rest of the growler down the drain – this is Pumpking after all.  But I probably will not opt to do a refill.  I will let my wife, who is also a big fan, try it to see if it is just me or if the paint thinner thing is detectable by her more sensitive palate.  I’m thinking that she might have a similar reaction.

What I’m experiencing is probably the movement happening in craft beer right now to constantly come out with new recipes and blends.  Oak aged, sour beer, bourbon barrel selects, nitro widget double chocolates breakfast stouts.  What’s next,  lunch and dinner stouts.  Could it be that brewers are going a little over board to have the latest and greatest thing?  I like the old thing best: Great fresh beer.


  1. Could it be that brewers are going a little over board to have the latest and greatest thing?

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this question. I find that the selection of beer is now so vast my brand loyalty has gone out the window. While I do have a few favorites that I go back to, I find I'm usually in search of the next best thing and almost always trying something new. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy it, but there have been a few beers I really liked that ended up being discontinued and I'd guess it was because they had a poor following. Then again, not too many years ago we only dreamed about having such "problems".

  2. I agree Tom. Too much of a good thing. Still, there are SO many great beers out there I have yet to try. It makes life very interesting. Cheers!