|What's more American|
than pumpkin pie?
Who's afraid of pumpkin ale? Not me!
Pumpkin ales have been an American tradition for many years. Hardly a brewery exists that doesn't make a pumpkin beer of some kind. Those are not just brewed with added pumpkin, but they put in the whole pie -- pumpkin pie that is. The spices that give pumpkin pie its distinctive taste are added to the beer as well: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and/or ginger.
From what I understand, beer drinkers either love them or hate them. They are the butt of more beer snob barbs than any other style except industrial light lager.
BeerBazaar's Scary Pumpkin Ale is, by my count, Israel's third entry into the pumpkin beer ocean. The Galil Brewery on Kibbutz Moran has brewed a seasonal pumpkin beer since its earliest days. Like the other Israeli pumpkin beers, it's made with the Israeli version of the orange pumpkin, called dla'at. The Sheeta Brewery in Arad made a seasonal pumpkin ale last year.
[Read about the Galil Pumpkin Ale here, and about the Sheeta Pumpkin Ale here.]
|Scary Pumpkin from the BeerBazaar Brewery:|
Cinnamon, spice and everything nice.
From the label, you learn that Scary Pumpkin is brewed from dla'at, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Alcohol by volume is a moderate 5.3%.
Let's see what comes through.
First thing, a lot of light comes through this mid-amber, crystal clear brew. The head was thin, but that was probably because we poured it so gently.
The next thing that comes through is the aroma of pumpkin pie spices, specifically ginger and cinnamon sticks, with a bready malt background. The first sip brings cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and bread (or maybe that's a pie crust!).
Getting a little more technical, my drinking partner Daniël Boerstra noted that you get the full pumpkin pie effect as a retro-nasal aroma, that is, when you breathe out.
|The retro-nasal breath pushes aromas|
against your olfactory epithelium:
Something every beer lover
As the beer warms up, the cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices become more distinct. "It reminds me of a Glühwein," said Daniël. (That's about the same as a mulled wine.)
The bitterness level is low, and the mouthfeel reveals a medium body and a subtle carbonation.
We both agreed that Scary Pumpkin fulfills the role of what they call abroad a "holiday ale" or a "winter ale," giving us flavor and strength during the colder, darker months ahead.