It's that time of year when the pumpkin flavored foods go all nutty. Pumpkin latte obsessions notwithstanding, it's easy to see madness in pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ravioli, even pumpkin gum. But pumpkin beer? Have we gone too far?
Well yes, and no.
I so very much like the idea of pumpkin beer, it just sounds like a good yummy leaves-a-rustling, pull-on-the-fleece kind of thing. Breweries have been brewing pumpkin beers along side their Octoberfest selections for a while now, but I'll be honest, most of them fall a bit short for me.
First of all sugar shockers, I'm not looking for a piece of pie in my beer glass. Secondly, many of the pumpkin beers I've been trying seem to be more about cinnamon and all spice than anything pumpkin. If I want to smoke some nutmeg, I'll just go smoke some nutmeg.
Enter Post Road Pumpkin Ale by Brooklyn Brewery. This beer was first recommended to me by the boys at Four Firkins, and then at my local Lakeside Liquors before I'd cracked into the six-pack. If you're looking for pumpkins, not pie, in your beer, this is it. There's a clear squash side to the aroma, a nice bite to the ale, and a great balance of bitter and sweet. It allows itself to be a savory pumpkin experience, delivering the sense of pumpkin almost as if you'd just recently made pumpkin soup in your house, and the warmth and smell still linger. So yes, it is a natural with food, I put a big slug of the beer in my chili, win. I am adding it to my pot roast pot tonight.
Plus, I like the Ichabod Crane reference to the name; subtlety my friends, subtlety.