WOW! … even William Shakespeare appreciated all the various useful aspects of pumpkins! When he penned this portion of the dialogue between Mistress Ford and Mistress Page in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, he used the word “pumpion” for what we now refer to as pumpkin.
Modern society has bastardized “pumpion” to describe a person who has little regard for his/her appearance or smell and enjoys making snide comments aloud to get a reaction. There are pompous folks who have, as companion eloquently defines, a “goat-smellin’ ass.”
Whereas the modern “pumpions” seem to show their … well, you know … at all times of the year, the “pumpion” of Billy Shakespeare’s time garners much more attention as the Fall/Winter seasons descend upon us – not only in kitchens around the country – but in microbreweries, as well. You’ll now be seeing all manner of pumpkin beers appear on the shelves of local packaged beer purveyors and along tap line-ups of several Greater Jacksonville area craft beer establishments.
For those new to craft beer, be aware there are variants in this style and each variant finds palates for which they satisfy. Typically, you’ll find one variant and “stick with it” from year to year.
Here is a simple list of three pumpkin beers, each with different tastes:
Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale
All Hallow’s Eve is a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent. It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale. Not so, but it is with great respect to the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer. Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun. At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking. Note: 8.6% ABV
Shipyard Brewing Company Pugsley’s Smashed Pumpkin
A big bodied beer with a light coppery orange color and pleasing aroma of pumpkin and nutmeg. Pale Ale, Wheat and Light Munich malts combine with the natural tannin in pumpkin and the delicate spiciness of Saphir and Hallertau Hops to balance the sweetness of the fruit. Note: 9.0% ABV
Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Pours orange in color with notes of buttered pie crust, roasted pumpkin, and a melange of pumpkin pie spices. Medium bodied with flavors of caramel and roasted pumpkin notes and an underpinning of floral hop bitterness that leads into a harmonious blend of pumpkin pie spice and finishes with drying alcohol heat that creates a balance with caramel in the finish. Note: 8.5% ABV & 35 IBUs
Embrace the season – visit your favorite craft beer establishments and select a pumpkin ale on tap – and find a bottle or two or three to take home. Keep in mind this is truly a seasonal thing – even as a craft beer newbie, you’ll find that you will save your pumpkin beer selections for the Fall and Winter.
You may encounter someone who turns their nose up to your selection. They might even say, “I just don’t like any vegetable beer. Why would anyone mix gross watery pumpkin with good beer?” Simply answer,
“Knave! … Pumpion! … if pumpkin be the food of love, play on!” … To their silent and confused response, then add:
“Get Thee and Thine goat-smellin’ ass to a library.”