23 Nov Exploring Pumpkin Beer: Taste Notes
I have always loved different kinds of beer, but have never had any pumpkin beer. So, I decided to spoil a few of my girlfriends for a night of tasting pumpkin beer with food pairings.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out how tasty pumpkin beer can be. Loaded with bold flavors, it makes a great pairing to almost any food in the chilly fall months!
The three beer types I tried were Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat, New Belguim Pumpkick and Shipyard PumpkinHead. All three were similar in flavor, yet totally different in intensity.
Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat had a very pronounced pumpkin flavor with a hint of cinnamon and a slightly bitter aftertaste. This beer was elevated in flavor and paired well with brie and honey. The honey took some of the bitter aftertaste away.
New Belguim Pumpkick had slightly less pumpkin flavor, but had a beautiful gingery aftertaste that paired wonderfully with the earthy flavor of salami (shiraz-soaked and cured). The salami actually brought out the sweetness in this beer, as it was a more subdued sweetness before the food pairing.
Shipyard PumpkinHead was lighter (in color) than the other two. I found that it paired well with sweeter grapes and herb cheese with a hint of chili paste. This beer is what I would call “easy drinking.” It was slightly sweet with a slight taste of honey, a hint of bitter and a mild flavor of pumpkin. I think the chili paste truly brought out the well-rounded flavor in this beer. I also had some veggie chips and nuts that I served with the beer and (not surprisingly) those went well with all three beers.
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but if I must, I think the New Belgium Pumpkick is my top pick. I loved the hints of ginger and spices! However, I say go try them all, because after all is said and done, everyone’s tastebuds love different flavors!
**All photos by my talented father, Koos Badenhorst.