Monday, October 14, 2013

Pumpkins vs Octoberfests - Which Beer To Drink?

You have probably noticed, as I have, that the shelves/menu boards of your favorite beer purveyors are crowded with the Pumpkins and Octoberfest offerings of many craft breweries. So many beers, so many questions: which is best, how are they different, is the bartender ignoring me?
So, I decided to put them to the test to find out all I could, so the logical place was none other than the Growler Station where Certified Cicerone Server "Big" Jon Richards holds fort and dispenses mucho beer-related info.
In response to my question asking about the differences, this was his response:

video


OK, so now I have a context, so next, it's tasting time.  Lining up my samples I have:



Left to right:

Weyerbaucher Imperial Pumpkin, 8% ABV
  Dogfish Head Punkin, 7% ABV
    Harpoon October Fest, 5% ABV
      Thomas Creek Octoberfest Lager, 6.5% ABV

Notice that the color seems pretty consistent across the samples, consistent with the malt focus of these styles. In an October Fest beer, the use of Vienna malts is classic, which gives it the gold to amber color. The pumpkins on the left both show a tanner head than the Octobers, probably from the use of real pumpkins in the wort.



My tasting notes:


The Weyerbaucher was very spicy, with a bit of alcohol warmth in the finish, and plenty of traditional pumpkin spices noticeable, especially a touch of clove. very full bodied.

The Dogfish Head was the closest of them all to being a regular beer, not overly spiced, good body and balanced sweetness. Very drinkable at any time.

The Harpoon October was a good representation of the style. In the Marzen style, very malty from the use of Munich, Chocolate and Pale malts. Full bodied with a finish that is both soft and malty with a gentle bitterness. I'd drink this one again.

Thomas Creek Octoberfest was very restrained in the spiciness, but with very noticeable caramel flavors and a creamy, full bodied mouth feel. Well balanced and the moderate ABV would make more than one possible, I think.


Overall, I liked them all, with the Dogfish Punkin (named after a pumpkin throwing contsest in Delaware) being my favorite for drinking. Like Big Jon says, "it tastes like a beer, not a pie!"

Well said.
Cheers!








Availability: 
Seasonal
A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with.
Punkin Ale is named after the seriously off-centered southern Delaware extravaganza Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, you gotta see it to believe it!)
- See more at: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/punkin-ale.htm#sthash.nzno8987.dpuf
Harpoon Octoberfest is a malty tribute to fall, balanced by a gentle hop bitterness.  In keeping with tradition, it is a Marzen-style beer, brewed with abundant quantities of Munich, Chocolate, and Pale malts. Those malts provide a solid, full body and create the beer’s deep color.  It is a rich, flavorful beer. - See more at: http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/beer/13/Octoberfest#sthash.ltQb16jM.dpuf
A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with. - See more at: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/punkin-ale.htm#sthash.nzno8987.dpuf
A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with.
Punkin Ale is named after the seriously off-centered southern Delaware extravaganza Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, you gotta see it to believe it!).
- See more at: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/punkin-ale.htm#sthash.nzno8987.dpuf
Availability: 
Seasonal
A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with.
Punkin Ale is named after the seriously off-centered southern Delaware extravaganza Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, you gotta see it to believe it!)
- See more at: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/punkin-ale.htm#sthash.nzno8987.dpuf

1 comment:

  1. Good info, and I, too, like most of the stuff Dogfish Head makes. Barry

    ReplyDelete