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21st Amendment/Elysian “He Said” Baltic-style Porter (2014)

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21st Amendment/Elysian “He Said” Baltic-style Porter is 8.2% ABV.

I poured all of a 12 oz can into a porter glass.

Appearance: A slightly splashy pour gave up about a finger and a half of light brown and creamy foam, which had good retention and clung to the sides of the glass as it slowly dissipated. The color is a very dark brown/black, with very little light getting through. It looks to have moderate carbonation, with some bubbles rising along the sides of the glass.

Smell: This has a great roasty malt aroma, along with a mild spice bill and some mild vegetal pumpkin around the edges. The malt is dark with strong roast, some smokiness, as well as some coffee and cocoa. I get some spicing, with the likes of cinnamon and nutmeg, perhaps some clove too. The beer has a dark burnt sugar and molasses smell to it. Not much by way of a hop profile. Good aroma, strong roast.

Taste: This has strong roastiness to it, with dark, earthy, and bitter (but pleasant) malt. I get cocoa, some smoke, and dark molasses flavors. There is some very mild pumpkin that sets in a little later, but nothing remarkable.  This dark roast is set against some smooth sweetness of molasses, dark chocolate, and a blend of spices. The spices are hard to discern, given the strength of the roast, but I get something like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. There is little by way of a hops profile in this, save for some balancing hops. This finishes to let the roastiness of the malt break past the smooth sweetness and hang out for a long while in the aftertaste. The roast is not going anywhere after the sip. Some dark roast and bark-like bitterness stay in the aftertaste for a good stretch.

Feel: This is medium bodied plus, though it is surprisingly thin in body, given the strength of flavor and intense roast. This has that real punchy and attention grabbing roast, which persists throughout, and gives a texture to this beer. There is a little creaminess, but it otherwise doesn’t have more complexity to its feel. A slight alcohol bite at the end. Pretty good here.

Drinkability: For a strong and roasty Baltic-style porter, this drinks pretty well. The relentless roast and the mild alcohol bite do detract some. This is not one to drink all night. Not quite a sipper, but something you won’t breeze through. It is not your smooth 4% fresh stout.

Overall: This is a really enjoyable Baltic-style porter. It has outrageous roast, which doesn’t go away. This is balanced fairly well by a strong and somewhat smooth malt backbone. But the roast is still a bit aggressive for me in this. Because of this, both the spices and (to some extent) the pumpkin get lost. After having about 8 sips, I don’t get much pumpkin at all. In fact, at this point I wouldn’t say it has any pumpkin. I still really enjoy the flavors, and the little pumpkin presence it does have. It is a really enjoyable drink. I am just not apt to point to this one as a top pumpkin porter.

Overall Rating: ***

photo 5 (1)About 21st Amendment, Elysian, and this beer: Last year I wrote about this beer, and this collaboration project, in my 2013 review. This is one of two beers that came out last year, both called “He Said”. They are sold as a 4-pack, and are a collaboration between 21st Amendment from San Francisco, California, and Elysian from Seattle, Washington. Last night I reviewed the other beer in this collaboration pack, a Belgian-style tripel.

This Baltic-style porter, just like last night’s Belgian-style tripel, is 8.2% ABV. It is brewed with pumpkin and some spicing of caraway seed and Vietnamese cinnamon. The ingredients in this beer, and the process for making it, get much more attention in my 2013 review.

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Midnight Sun “TREAT” Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (2014)

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Midnight Sun “TREAT” Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter is 7.8% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a porter glass.

Appearance: A slightly splashy pour gave about two fingers of light brown and frothy head. This had decent retention and dissipated some to leave fairly thick lacing and still some thin foam atop the beer. This has a very dark brown/black color, with no real light getting through. Doesn’t look murky, just dark. Tiny bubbles rising along the sides of the glass suggest mild to moderate carbonation.

Smell: This has a nice smell, real rich. I get strong chocolate, almost like Hershey’s chocolate syrup, along with some vegetal pumpkin, great smooth roast, and a warm blend of spices. For spices I get cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe some allspice. This also has some sweet brown sugar to it. Not much by way of hops. Absolutely top notch aroma, save for the slight suggestion that this might be really sweet. Now I taste and find out.

Taste: This starts strong with great and smooth dark roast, building with some nice cocoa- more cocoa /dark chocolate than milk chocolate- as well as some vegetal pumpkin. This is really quite rich. The malt is dark and very sweet, lots of chocolate and some coffee. A little vanilla. As for spices, the roast really makes it hard to discern what is part of the spice bill. I do get a spice presence, as from clear cinnamon and perhaps nutmeg. The vegetal pumpkin has a pleasant sour note that adds complexity to the otherwise sweet and roasty offering. Some non-descript hops are adding some balance, good for a porter. This finishes with the brighter vegetal pumpkin pulling away a bit to accent more of the chocolate and dark roast. The finish is almost like cola. The aftertaste has some strong lingering roast, as well as a little coffee-like bitterness. Really good flavors, very strong chocolate, nice pumpkin presence.

Feel: I’d say this is on the lighter end of heavy bodied. Given how strong the flavors are, I’m surprised this isn’t really heavy on the palate, or cloyingly sweet.The dark roast is nicely balanced against vegetal pumpkin notes and sweet chocolate, and enough hops for balance. It also seems like there might be some lactose in it, in terms of feel. A little creaminess. So I’d say really pleasant feel here, save for some strong roast that just won’t depart after the sip, which could detract for some.

Drinkability: This drinks really well. The sweetness really helps it out here, and the fact that it tastes like dessert. One thing holding it back is the strong dark roast, which does stick around a while on the palate. The sweetness, though making it smooth to drink, may also hold one back from having much more than 10 oz of this. So I’d say this is fine for the style- an imperial roasty porter in the pumpkin pie style.

Overall: I’ve known about this beer for a few years. Finally I get a chance to try it. Thanks to CraftShack.com, a craft beer site out of California, I can count on getting some of the Pacific Northwest (and above) beers. In any case, this beer is pretty good. I like all of the flavors, which are quite rich and strong. The chocolate you can’t miss, and it is joined by some unbridled roastiness, The pumpkin is present throughout this beer, but could have more of the stage. The pumpkin isn’t as central as offerings like the Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, in the same state as Midnight Sun. I also think the spices are nicely balanced. This beer runs for about 14.50 per 22oz. So it is a little on the pricey side, I think, especially for something under 8%, and for the quality. But it really is a nice rich offering, with pretty good pumpkin. It is definitely a beer for dessert. If you like strong roasty porters, or sweet malty beers, especially with chocolate notes, this could be a good pick. The more I drink it the more I would want a little more pumpkin and a little less roast. The roast gets a little overpowering. In any case, this is certainly enjoyable among the pumpkin porter’s I’ve had, but doesn’t quite accomplish all that Alaskan’s Pumpkin Porter does.

Overall Rating: ***3/4

photo 4 (3)About Midnight Sun and their offering: Midnight Sun Brewing is located in Anchorage, Alaska.

To make this beer they use pumpkin, cocoa nibs, and a blend of spices. It is then aged in oak.

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Terrapin Imperial “Pumpkin Pie” Porter (2014)

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Terrapin Imperial “Pumpkin Pie” Porter is 9.2% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a porter glass.

Appearance: An easy and hard-at-the-end pour tossed up a half-finger of light brown head, which dissipated over a few minutes to leave a thin ring and the thinnest remnant of foam atop the beer. This has a very dark brown/black color, letting no light through. Bubbles rising at the surface suggest mild to moderate carbonation.

Smell: I get nice vegetal squash, quickly followed by a warm and notable spice blend. For spices I think I get heavy nutmeg and some cinnamon. The malt has great roasty elements, and even some slight smoke to it. This also smells pretty sweet, with some dark fruit like plum. I also get some dark sugar and molasses. Great aroma. Looking forward to tasting it.

Taste: As I first taste more roasty and somewhat smokey pumpkin. This is not as sweet as I was expecting, at least up front. There is definite strong roastiness and some smokiness. The spices aren’t so clear coming through on the palate. As for malt, I get nice roast, and a bit of dark coffee-like bitterness. There is some pumpkin around the edges, with some dark fruit towards the finish. Very little by way of hops.  As in the smell, I get dark sugar and molasses. This finishes with the dark roast and the coffee-like bitterness fading into an aftertaste of smoke and mild undescript spice. Very mild notice of alcohol. Good flavors, heavy on the roast and smoke. The pumpkin isn’t so strong, like many of the pumpkin porter/stout offerings.

Feel: This is medium to heavy bodied, with moderate carbonation. The feel is pretty good, no heavy lingering sugar, and a good amount of roast to add some complexity to the otherwise smooth and forthright malt. The roast and mild smoke in the aftertaste is mostly pleasant, and not a major detractor for me. So, pretty good feel.

Drinkability: For something of 9+%, this does pretty darn well. You don’t get much of an alcohol bite, and you also don’t get overwhelmed with sugar. So this has a good balance there, and drinks pretty well. It is a rich beer, with strong roasty flavors, and so isn’t a paradigm drinkable beer. Even so, for its style, it does pretty well here.

Overall: I like the roast and the slight smoke in this. I also enjoy the balance of sweetness, and the mostly hidden alcohol. I would not describe this as pumpkin pie, for a few reasons. It doesn’t have strong pumpkin, nor does it have a kind of sweetness that you get with pie. This is more of a roasty and slightly smokey strong porter, with some hints of pumpkin. The more I drink it, the less pumpkin I get too. As a pumpkin porter, OK. As a bigger porter, I like it. This was pretty hard to get, and went real fast. The wax also gives it a kind of prestige, which likely contributed to that. I don’t think it lives up to all that.

Overall Rating: **3/4

photo 4About Terrapin and Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter: Terrapin is out of Athens Georgia, having started there in 2002. Yesterday I reviewed their “Pumpkinfest”.

This Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter was something of a limited offering. I think I might have actually come across the last bottle in the state of Virginia. This is also the first year Terrapin has made it. It joined their reserve series of small batch, wax-dipped 22’s, following in the footsteps of “White Chocolate Moo Hoo” and “Cinnamon Roll’d Wake-n-Bake”. This malt bill of this beer has 2-Row Pale, Wheat & Chocolate Wheat, Crystal 85 & 120, Black Malt, and Chocolate Malt. It has added pumpkin and a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves. Columbus and U.S. Golding Hops take this to 35 IBU’s.

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Strangeways “Gourd of Thunder” Imperial Pumpkin Porter (2014)

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Strangeways “Gourd of Thunder” Imperial Pumpkin Porter is 9.2% ABV.

I poured some of a 32 oz growler into a wine glass.

Appearance: The pour was easy, and tossed up just a little bit of thin beige head, which lasted less than a minute. The color of this is a dark and murky brown, with some reddish hints to it. This fizzes such as to suggest light to moderate carbonation.

Smell: To start I get some vegetal pumpkin, which is quickly followed by a whole lot of earthy, dark, and woody spices. I get definite clove, as well as some candied ginger, nutmeg, and as some banana. This smells sweet with dark malt and molasses and burnt sugar, and has an intense aroma from the bold spices. Really enjoyable aroma.

Taste: This tastes a good bit like it smells. And it is rich. It has some mostly vegetal and somewhat caramel-like pumpkin, and a legion of spices following it up. I get woody and toasted spices of clove, allspice, ginger, and maybe some nutmeg too. The spices are bold and interesting. This is also on the sweet side, with burnt sugar, molasses, vanilla, and a kind of candied ginger sweetness. The more I sip it, the more the spices come through and sit with me. Not as much pumpkin after a few sips. This finishes with the strong dark sugar sweetness quickly fading into some woody clove-like bitterness, and a touch of vegetal pumpkin sourness. This dark woody spice sits on the palate in the aftertaste for quite a while. Good rich flavors, and interesting and enjoyable spices.

Feel: This is more medium bodied, thinner than I was expecting. It has moderate and just perfect carbonation. It is also a little on the sticky side, with some of its dark malt and heavy sugar. But the feel has some complexity because of all the bittering components from the spices. Not a whole lot of presence from the high alcohol, which is good. Pretty nice feel, save for the spices adding more bitterness than I’d ideally want.

Drinkability: For something surpassing 9 percent, this is pretty drinkable. The heavy sweetness helps hide the ABV, but does weigh me down a bit. Given how rich this is, and how bold the spices are, I couldn’t have a whole lot of this at one time. The strong bitterness from the spices hangs on my palate, and makes this a bit less drinkable. So, decent here.

Overall: I tried this beer last year, and remember really enjoying it. I also really enjoy it this year. I think the spices are bold and really interesting. This isn’t for the faint of Fall, or err, the faint of spice, or… something. This is spicy. I like the mostly vegetal pumpkin up front, but could go for a bit more vegetal pumpkin overall to balance out the heavy dark spices, which weigh me down after a bit of sipping on this. But I have to say I really like the dark sugar and molasses and the candied ginger. So I say this is a good imperial pumpkin porter. It isn’t my absolute favorite. For that, I’m currently stuck on Alaskan Pumpkin Porter. I also think this is overpriced. The 32 oz growler fill for this was 18 dollars. For that price, I could buy two 22’s of some other imperial pumpkin porters- Epic/DC Brau’s, for example. This beer has a more interesting spice profile than the Epic and D.C. Brau collaboration. Not 18 dollars worth, though. If you haven’t tried this, go for it on tap, get it as part of a flight, or ask for a small sample before you commit to an expensive growler. I don’t think they are bottling it this year.

Overall Rating: ***1/2

image (6)About Strangeways and their offering: Strangeways opened in Richmond, Virginia in may 2013. This is the second year they have made Gourd of Thunder, which is made with roasted local pumpkins, bourbon vanilla beans and spices of cinnamon, ginger, and clove. See my 2013 review of the Gourd of Thunder for more info about them and this brew.

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Strangeways “Gourd of Thunder” Imperial Pumpkin Porter (2013)

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Strangeways “Gourd of Thunder” Imperial Pumpkin Porter is 9.2% ABV.

I was served a 10 oz goblet with a golden rim at the brewery’s tap room.

Appearance: This was served with just an eight of an inch of thin light tan head. The beer has a dark murky brown color, with a little light coming through. It looks to have mild carbonation.

Smell: This has very clear vegetal pumpkin, and warm spicing of clove, cinnamon, and  (I think) nutmeg. I get some dark roasty malt notes, some brown sugar, and some molasses. Overall the aroma isn’t very strong, and is mostly constituted by vegetal pumpkin with the dark malt and spicing.

Taste: Great vegetal and bright pumpkin in this, without a whole lot of sourness that often comes along. This has some sour tones, but is otherwise balanced well with the dark somewhat roasty malt and the earthy blend of spices. This has definite clove, and I think some cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also some vanilla to it, with flavors of strong brown sugar and some molasses. All of the flavors are good and work well together. They aren’t scattered like a lot of dark pumpkin ales can be. This woodsy pumpkin porter is spot on with the spices, and is a lot more subtle and complex than its name gives it credit for. The finish has some enjoyable warm spicing, and some of the darker sweetness. Some woody spice and dark malt are present in the aftertaste.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with low to moderate carbonation. It is lighter in body than I was expecting given the ABV, and given how strong the flavors are. It has a soft and smooth malty sweetness with the woody spicing and dark sugar adding some texture. Some slight sour tones from the vegetal pumpkin are also present. Nice feel.

Drinkability: For something this bold and high in ABV, this is pretty darn drinkable. There are some of the woody notes and dark spices hanging around in the aftertaste. A good thing is that they don’t drag, and come off as pleasant. So pretty decent marks here.

Overall: This is the best pumpkin porter I’ve had. I like it even more than Epic/DC Brau’s Imperial Pumpkin Porter, which I’ve looked forward to having every year. I love the woodsy spice flavor and the feel. The pumpkin is bright and not overcrowded. It also has good balance. It is lighter in body than I was expecting, or maybe than I’d ideally want in a bold porter. But it is very good. Virginia continues to offer good new and artfully crafted beer. If you are near enough to Richmond and haven’t been to Strangeways, do it. Their “Wallonian Dawn” honey saison and their “Woodbooger” Belgian-style brown ale are both good beers to drink.

Overall Rating: ***3/4

DSC03611About Strangeways and their “Gourd of Thunder”: Strangeways Brewing opened in Richmond, Virginia in late May of 2013. I spoke with Cheyenne Burnham, operations and events coordinator, when I visited. She was helpful and told me a little about the brewery and their beer. Founder and entrepreneur, Neil Burton had been working on starting a brewery for a few years. He spent a good deal of time supporting and helping House Bill 359 to pass, which allows an alternating proprietorship for breweries, something Neil been barred from doing previously. Neil later met professional brewer, Mike Hiller, who is now the master brewer of Strangeways. If you visit Strangeways, you’ll find their particular aesthetic vibrant and unique, though I wouldn’t say strange. Strangeways beer is distributed by Brown and is available all over Richmond, Virginia on tap, and now in a few bottles. They say that they will work on distributing as far out as they can go. So I expect more by way of bottles to come.

“Gourd of Thunder” is made with fresh roasted locally bought pumpkins, and a spice bill of clove, ginger, cinnamon, and bourbon vanilla beans. It was released for the first time on October 17th, and has made a very positive impact in Richmond. Having only made 2o barrels of it, I imagine it won’t last long.

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Redhook “Out of Your Gourd” Pumpkin Porter (2013)

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Redhook “Out of Your Gourd” Pumpkin Porter is 5.8% ABV.

I poured all of a 12 oz  bottle into a porter glass.

Appearance: Pouring steadily produced a finger or so of light brown and thin head. The head was gone in about 2 minutes, leaving no lacing. The color on this is a deep dark brown, with just a little bit of burgundy light coming through. This looks to have light carbonation.

Smell: I get some mild dark malts with a little bit of roast, some vegetal pumpkin, and some woody spices. Working hard to discern the individual spices in the aroma, I am coming up with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. This has some molasses to the smell, and a little bit of vegetal pumpkin with some sour notes. The aroma is fairly tame, and again has nice dark and woody spicing paired with the dark malts.

Taste: I get vegetal pumpkin with wood and tree-bark dark spicing. The spicing has some cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove (I think). This isn’t incredibly roasty, but does have some dark malt to it. For sweetness there is some molasses and some dark sugar. The more I drink this, the more the sweetness comes out. This finishes to let the sweetness fade into more vegetal pumpkin and spicing, leaving an aftertaste of light sandy bitterness. Overall, the flavors in this are pretty good. I particularly like the dark malt and woody spicing as they are paired with the vegetal pumpkin.

Feel: This is light to medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. It is lighter in body than I was expecting in a porter, or as I was expecting from the aroma. It is also higher in carbonation than I was expecting. There is nothing really dynamic or heavy with the feel; the feel is smooth and pretty enjoyable. It is a little over-carbonated for my tastes.

Drinkability: This does well for drinkability. It is smooth, has some sweetness, and nothing really hangs very much. Decent marks here.

Overall: I heard of this beer last year, but didn’t see it on my local stores’ shelves. This year I thought I’d do a review, as this is probably the largest distributed pumpkin porter. And I like it, for what it is. It is a lighter-bodied porter with some decent pumpkin flavor, and some smooth dark malt. The woody spice is also nice, and contributes to a mellow and chill feel. I’d want a bit more body in my pumpkin porters, like the incredible Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, or the Epic/DC Brau Imperial Pumpkin Porter. If you like the lighter-bodied dark beers, this may be for you.

Overall Rating: **

DSC03571About Redhook and their offering: Redhook began in 1981 in Seattle, Washington. They started in an old transmission shop in the Ballard area of Seattle. Having grown quite a bit since then, with large production locations in Woodinville, Washington, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Redhook is now owned by the company Craft Brew Alliance. Craft Brew Alliance is a large company marketing big names like Widmer Brothers, Kona, and recently, Omission. About one third of Craft Brew Alliance’s company is owned by the beer giant AB/InBev. Redhook’s flagship beer, their “ESB”, which I’ve known since my early days in the restaurant business, can be found in almost all states in the U.S.

Redhook makes their pumpkin porter with pumpkin puree. For spices, they add cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg into the whirlpool. Being a fairly mild and smooth porter, it has a small amount of Northern Brewer hops for the boil. To finish this off, they also add some maple syrup during fermentation. Last year, this beer was only available in the New England area. In 2013, it is available in 48 states from early August til late September.

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Alaskan Pumpkin Porter (2013)

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Alaskan Pumpkin Porter is 7.0% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz  bottle into a porter glass.

Appearance: After a steady pour, I got a finger or so of thinnish light brown head which dissipated over the course of a few minutes. This has a dark brown color mostly impenetrable by light. This appears to have carbonation on the light side.

Smell: This smells sweet, roasty, and lovely. There is some dark roast, some notable vegetable pumpkin, and some sweetness and spices. The sweetness has some definite brown sugar to it, while the spices I get are cinnamon and clove. This smells like it will have a lot of flavor, and will be rich. I also get some vanilla-sweetness which pairs great with the dark and roasty malt. Just a great and somewhat sweet aroma. It is so nice to be able to taste this for the first time. I’ve been looking at this in my fridge for too long without tasting it.

Taste: This has just wonderful flavor. It has great strong pumpkin that is mostly vegetal, but also has some roasty tones. The dark, smokey, and roasty malt flavors are there, but don’t overtake the palate. The spices and sweetness are well balanced. The spice I am getting is cinnamon and clove, and some definite brown sugar. I am also getting some smooth vanilla. What is really impressive about this is that it has the roast of a porter, a nice spice profile, and great pumpkin flavor. This has more pumpkin flavor than any other pumpkin porter or pumpkin stout I’ve ever had. It is wonderful. This finishes to let some more of the fruit of the pumpkin shine through. The aftertaste has some of the roast and spices and a bit of the vegetal pumpkin flesh hanging on for a good bit. Just great flavors.

Feel: This is medium bodied,with light carbonation. The feel is lighter than I was expecting. It is smooth and has some roast that gives it some texture. The bit of brown sugar also adds some texture to the feel. Finally there is some warmth from the pumpkin pie spices. So, good marks here.

Drinkability: This is quite good here. It is smooth and velvety, with nothing too coarse or caustic on the palate. The sweetness is also not too pronounced or overpowering. The alcohol is also tame. This is very smooth and easy to put a dent in without realizing it. Great marks here.

Overall: This is the best pumpkin porter that I’ve had, and has more pumpkin flavor than any darker pumpkin beer I’ve ever tasted. The flavors are all good, and nicely balanced. I love the powerful vegetal pumpkin. I also like how the dark and roasty malts pair with the pumpkin and the other spices. This beer has a whole lot going for it. I am a big fan, and would certainly get some more of this for myself or for a seasonal tasting with friends. I wish it was easier for me to get! It is a must-try, especially for those folks that love pumpkin in their pumpkin beers.

Overall Rating: ****

image (10)Alaskan Brewing Company and their Pumpkin Porter: Alaskan Brewing Company was founded in 1986 by Marcy and Geoff Larson, who were then in their 20’s! This was the first brewery in Juneau since Prohibition. Marcy and Goeff aimed to make beers that were inspired by and similar to some of the beers made during the Gold Rush Era, where beer had a central role in the lifestyle. Geoff was a chemical engineer as well as a homebrewer. His wife Marcy was an accountant and adventurous pilot. When doing research about the beer history of Alaska, Marcy discovered some records from the Douglas City Brewing Company, which existed from 1899-1907. These records detailed ingredients for its historically popular brews, and included a newspaper article that had information about how their beer was brewed. Geoff brewed a batch of this beer at home.This beer would later become Alaskan Amber. Alaskan Brewing now distributes to 14 states, and is among the most decorated winners at the Great American Beer Fest. They have won over 100 major medals across the big beer competitions, where over half of these are golds. One of their most popular beers, which I really hope to try some day, is their Alaskan Smoked Porter. This beer has won many medals. At the Great American Beer Festival alone, it has won 6 gold, 6 sliver, and 6 bronze medals since 1990. This beer brought a real gold rush for them between the years of 1991 and 1995.

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The Alaskan Pumpkin Porter is part of their pilot series of limited edition specialty ales. Being brewed in Juneau, it can be a serious challenge to brew real ales. But they’ve done it, and done it well. They use over 11 pounds of Red Hubbard pumpkins per barrel for this delicious pumpkin treat! The water is  glacier-fed, and soaks up a big grain bill. 6 different malts are used, including the Alaskan alder-smoked malt. For more of the pumpkin pie flavors, they throw in brown sugar and a spice blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.  Magnum and Goldings hops takes this to 25 IBU’s.

I spoke with Andy Kline from Alaskan Brewing, who was quite generous. Everyone else I talked to along the way was also so helpful with this project. My girlfriend often jokes that great breweries are how she gets me to travel. Bankrolling this trip might be  a bit more difficult, at least right now! If you get the chance to grab this beer, grab a couple. The beautiful label shows a pickup carrying some giant pumpkin. This is a reference to the Alaska State Fair, known for growing some of the worlds largest vegetables, including pumpkins weighing in at over 1200 lbs. Hey, Alaska is massive! And Alaskan Brewing has massively good beer.

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