Dogfish Head – Punkin

Tasting: September 9, 2011
Style: Fruit (Pumpkin)

While on a beach vacation in Delaware a few years ago, I noticed some advertisements in Rehoboth for an event called “Punkin’ Chunkin’”. I came to learn that “Punkin’ Chunkin’” was a pretty big “to-do”. If you aren’t familiar with the event, it is a competition to hurl a pumpkin as far as possible. There are a number of categories contestants compete: manually thrown; catapulted; air cannoned; centrifugally tossed and more. Apparently, some of these pumpkins can travel nearly a mile via air cannon. Wouldn’t you know that the “World Championships” are held each year in Delaware during the first weekend in November? It’s turned into a pretty big festival and the event highlights have been made into the highest rated programs on the Science Channel. Last year, even the Mythbuster’s Adam and Jamie hosted a program for Discovery Channel covering the event.

What does Punkin’ Chunkin’ have to do with Dogfish Head’s Punkin’? You may know that Dogfish Head hails from Delaware. Their one and only brewpub is located in Rehoboth. Their Punkin’ Ale is named after this famous event and this beer made its debut at the event in 1994 – claiming first prize in the Punkin Chunkin recipe contest. All of this six months before the brewery opened its doors for business.

From the label – 7% ABV, brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Not sure if they ingredients are listed by quantity — but sounds like the balance of a real pumpkin pie. Not much of a head on this dark amber brew, although I have some volcanic carbonation spewing from the bottom of my perfect pint glass. Aroma lays a little heavy on the allspice and nutmeg. My first sip gives me a pop of pumpkin followed by that allspice and nutmeg. On the plus side, the mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly sticky. If you have a good pumpkin pie – you get pumpkin, cinnamon and sugar. I think we are all brainwashed to think that the combination of all the spices are pumpkin flavoring — it’s not. I’ll give this one 81 points.

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