Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beer Style of the Week - One of a Kind Beer (The Bastards) Imperial Pumpkin

Beer Style of the Week – The Bastards (One of a Kind Beer) Part 3 of 4

Week 20

As we learned from our friend, Horst Dornbusch, German Beer Historian and Writer, a beer “Style” cannot be created from a single or even two or three similarly brewed beers. A “Style” is created when there are several brewers who create a beer that can be compared and contrasted to one another. For example; Pale Ale – There are literally 1000 different, yet similarly brewed Pale Ales. Imperial Stouts – While there are perhaps 100 on the shelves or on tap around the globe, there are plenty enough to weigh against and compare to each other. Even Imperial Coffee or Imperial Java Stouts meet the criteria to fit into a “Style”.

On the other hand, we find beers like Samuel Adam’s Utopias that more closely resemble a Sherry, at 27% ABV than a beer, that fall loosely into the “Strong Ale” category, yet it is a one of a kind brew with nothing to compare it to.

Q: Is Pumpkin Ale a style?

A: Yes, glad you asked! It’s one of the oldest American original styles. The early colonists learned to brew beer with whatever fermentable fruits and/or vegetables they could get their blessed little hands on. Pumpkin, tree bark (for bittering), molasses, squash, you name it. Beer was important and damn the lack of barley malt and hops, if they wanted beer, they improvised!

Q: So what about Imperial Pumpkin Stout Ale?

A: We covered that “Bastard” in Part 2 with Cape Ann’s Fisherman’s Imperial Pumpkin Stout. There are a few Imperial Pumpkin Stouts floating around out there, but certainly not enough to fit into a style.

So that’s where we find this week’s ‘Beer Style of the Week’- The Bastards Part 3 - Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin (Pugley’s Signature Series) It’s an amped-up Pumpkin Ale on steroids, sans the Stout!

Shipyard Brewing – Smashed Pumpkin – Portland, Maine – 9% ABV

22oz brown bottle. Served in a Chimay goblet.
It pours an oily, orange-hued amber color with a beige head along with some wisps of trailing lacing.
A strong and delightful whiff of rum-soaked pumpkin pie rises at first pour. I think I can actually smell the crust! The nutmeg spiciness is subdued, but thoughts of Thanksgiving dessert flood my senses. A solid malty smell mingles with some spicy and citrusy hops. Dark rum in the nose never fades.
The flavors are bold and upfront. Very little in the way of subtleties. Big spiced pumpkin taste, Big doughy maltiness, Big ruminess, and not so big, yet noticeable hoppiness.
SO much better than Shipyard's other Pumpkin Ale, and not because it's much bigger. It is big but balanced and wonderfully rich and decadent.

Goes well with Turkey Dinner and of course, Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Let’s see how it ages...

Cheers and Happy Father’s Day! (even if you’re reading this after your special day)

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