I like pumpkin, I like it a lot and although I was not a huge fan of the pumpkin beer seasonal creep we have been witnessing in the craft beer world and coffee land I still can appreciate a good pumpkin beer and pumpkin spice latte as long as they aren’t overly sweet. The highlight though is a well made pumpkin pie and being a Canadian I get to enjoy it in early October during our Thanksgiving dinners and beyond. As a craft beer fan and someone who likes to try the more unusual pumpkin beers out there, I thought I would experiment a little bit on what a decent beer and pumpkin pie pairing would be like.
Craft Beer – Two beers this time, one was a Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale which is your standard ale made with actual pumpkins and spices like nutmeg, cloves and/or cinnamon, you can actually taste pumpkin in the beer, followed by cloves and a bit of sweetness. The second was a local BC Chocolate Pumpkin Porter by Parallel 49 Brewing in Vancouver, which is a dry roasty cocoa and coffee like porter that has hints of pumpkin that shine through after about 6 months in the cellar.
Food – Pumpkin pie from a local bakery that is very nice, with made with real pumpkins and is quite fresh tasting while not overly sweet.
How does it taste with a decent Pumpkin Ale – the regular Pumpkin Ale and the pairing was at least interesting, but not one I would recommend repeating. I found that the pie overpowered any pumpkin in the beer, instead revealing more of the cloves and the malts while hiding the pumpkin and giving it an oddly fizzy taste. At the same time, the beer brought out more of the squash like properties of the pumpkin pie and hid any sweetness.
How does it taste with a Chocolate Pumpkin Porter – this was a real treat! First off, the chocolate in the beer accentuated the pumpkin and spices in the pie similar to say a pumpkin brownie while at the same time the pie really un-sweetened the beer and highlighted the cocoa notes, the coffee flavours and the roasty malts which improved the already great beer significantly. I would recommend this as a pairing to anyone!
Alternate Pairings – You could try other Brown Ales or Pumpkin Porters to make this work nicely, but the straight up pumpkin ale didn’t pan out very well. Bonus points if you keg a pumpkin or make pumpkin mugs which I will do soon!