Everytime I head back east to visit friends and family I am always asking around to find out what good beers people have been having in the area. Some of my friends have been talking about the elusive Pumking Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY. This seasonal brew has become wildly popular in the Northeast. So much so that bars and beer stores who carry it do not list it on their menu. If you hear of a bar that might have it, you have to ask for it, then after getting stared down like you just asked for something illegal, they will walk into the back and bring out one bottle.
I am not usually a huge fan of pumpkin beers. Most of them have missed the target for me because they are usually over spiced and don't strike the right balance. But after all the hype I had to give this one a try. When I got a look at the bottle I was doubting it even more because it's so corny-looking.
But I was pretty psyched after the first sip. This is the first pumpkin beer I've had where I taste the pumpkin right away. It's smooth, sweet, creamy and has just the right balance of pumpkin pie spices without over-doing it. It leaves you with this really smooth aftertaste that will keep you reaching for another sip. It may have even inspired me to start brewing with pumpkin myself.
I just got back to San Francisco this week and I am wishing I brought some with me. If you are ever in the East Coast in the fall and can get your hands on this beer, give it a shot. You will not be disappointed.