As much as I love Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, I do make an effort to try other pumpkin beers. And by “make an effort,” I mean I only order it when my favorite brand is not on the menu. So when I ran into such a situation during a recent family get together, I decided to give Dogfish Head Punkin Ale a shot.
According to the label, it is a “…full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon [and] nutmeg.” The use of allspice surprised me at first, as I have only encountered it in homemade Swedish meatballs and just became aware of its wide use in brewing while preparing this article. I was lucky enough to have it served to me in a bottle with an empty glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar on the side. Why is that lucky? Because I could experience the taste in two different ways! Although if you count my sampling it both before and while I ate a hamburger and french fries, then I tried it three different ways.
I can safely say it was enjoyable all three ways. It was easy to gauge its flavor by drinking directly from the bottle. If you are not a fan of sweet pumpkin ale, then this is the one for you. It has a “beer” flavor and the pumpkin sweetness only comes in the form of a subtle aftertaste. As expected, drinking it from a rimmed glass increases the sweetness. I particularly enjoyed how its smooth taste was not effected by my choice of dinner. I’m a big burger fan and have plenty of unwanted experiences with beers which didn’t taste as good when consumed with food.
Remember how I mentioning trying this at a family gathering? That wasn’t just me trying to pad out the length of this article. I brought it up because someone there commented on how they had tried this particular brand before but was surprised by the new label. Sure enough, the label on my bottle does not match the old one. Why the change? Because Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has tapped famed poster and vinyl figure artist Jermaine Rogers to create a new one as part of their annual seasonal art series.
To summarize: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is a smooth brew with a mild pumpkin taste. It’s not too sweet and goes well with meals. It’s not replacing my favorite brand anytime soon, but it’s definitely up there. If that sounds good to you, then stock up while you can!