Halloween is afoot, and that is a good thing for beer lovers everywhere. Brewers have their fall seasonal beers ready for action and Southern Tier’s Pumking is no exception. It’s hard to choose one beer suitable for review this time of year, but the Pumking delivers something entirely unique in the wide-array of pumpkin beers.
The bottle is certainly designed to fit, with a menacing pumpkin decked out in a royal crown. A black and orange color scheme symbolizes everything this beer is all about. Even the beer itself pours out in a light orange brown color. It leaves very little to the imagination, but maybe that’s what makes it such a successful novelty.
Burying my nose into my glass hits me with a whiff of pumpkin spice. Something about the smell is almost sugary, but distinctly smells like pumpkin pie. It’s sweet enough to be enticing, but I can already tell it’s going to be a bit overpowering.
The taste matches the flavor one for one. It’s similarly sweet tasting, almost exactly like a pumpkin pie. There’s some more depth to the flavor than there was to the smell, hints of cinnamon and all kinds of warm spices that will remind you of a grandma’s kitchen.
Sweetness isn’t something that I go wild for in my beers, and Pumking was a tad too sweet for me. One is enjoyable. Two would be punishment. I can’t even imagine downing an entire four pack in one sitting. It’s much more suitable as a fun way to get in the Halloween spirit with a few friends.
Personally, if I were going for a pumpkin flavored beer, I’d choose something from one of our locals. Baltimore’s Heavy Seas and Delaware’s Dogfish Head both have great offerings that don’t quite slam you over the head with pumpkin flavors. Then again, there’s something incessantly fun about Southern Tier’s brew.
It fits the spirit of the season, that’s for sure. It’s as much like candy as something should be around this time of year, but to someone without a massive sweet tooth, that makes it more appealing as a once-a-year drink. The 8.6 percent ABV is masked by all this pumpkin pie goodness, and it can be costly at around $14 for a four pack. But this isn’t a trick, this beer is a treat.