Souther Tier Brewing Co.
My first taste of Southern Tier‘s Pumking came about a year ago after hearing a lot of hype and hoopla about the beer. It took only a sip to see what all the fuss is about.
For a pumpkin beer fan like me, Pumking was everything I wanted in a pumpkin beer. It was a perfect mix of spicy, sweet and savory, and more or less tasted like a liquified pumpkin pie. It quickly and easily became my favorite pumpkin beer, and that still holds true with the 2012 batch.
Pumking pours a super clear light orange. It’s slightly brownish toward the center with maybe a finger of head that dissipates really fast. There’s really no lacing and just some mild alcohol legs.
The smell of Pumking is just amazing. You get the rich, sweet pumpkin, all the expected spices – cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice – a bit of caramel sweetness and a great bready graham cracker smell to round it out. It’s everything you – or at least I – would want.
I’m not the first to say it and I won’t be the last, but this thing tastes just like liquified pumpkin pie. It really is amazing just how spot-on it is to that flavor. There’s a slight bite of carbonation and spice on the front of the tongue followed with a slightly bubbly mouthfeel. The spices are big throughout along with a slight heat from the alcohol. Big, rich pumpkin comes back on the end along with this great brown sugar sweetness. What’s really impressive is that they somehow get that pie crust taste in there. Maybe it’s the malts – or maybe it’s a placebo effect – but you really do get a sweet, bready crust flavor on it. It’s amazing stuff.
Southern Tier has never let me down. They catch a lot of flack for their bigger imperial beers, namely their Blackwater Series (Creme Brulee, anyone?), but I like how they go for the bigger-is-better mentality yet still deliver. For me, it doesn’t get much better than Pumking. I couldn’t possibly design a better pumpkin beer.