27 September 2008

Jack's Pumpkin Spice /Dogfish Head Punkin (MO/DE)

Two pumpkin ales from different sides of the track.

Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale: This is from A-B, specifically Michelob (the bottle is etched with the Michelob name), which is turning into A-B's ambassador to the craft beer world. 5.5% ABV. It pours clear copper with a head that doesn't last. The smells reminds me of a pumpkin candle or something. It doesn't taste like real pumpkin, but what does? What we perceive as pumpkin is probably mostly about the complementary spices. In this case, cinnamon comes through the strongest against a caramel, amber ale body. I like the dry finish and the malty aftertaste; I don't like the light, fizzy body, which isn't rich enough for fall.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale: This one is a bit more red in color and slightly hazy. The aroma is sweeter with a touch of vanilla, but that doesn't come through in the taste. Instead, it's malty, spicy (more allspice and nutmeg than cinnamon), and rummy. Like Jack's, it doesn't taste to me much like real pumpkin, and if you told me it was a Rum Raisin beer I might have believed you. But Punkin (7% ABV) still has a lot going on, and a nice medium-full body.

It isn't fair comparing these two, as the DFH costs at least 50% more. Is it worth the extra dollars? I'd rather drink one of it than two of Jack's, but I'd bet most civilian beer drinkers would prefer Jack's. I don't like either any more than Pumpking, but I'd gladly pay for DFH Punkin again.

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