Microfestivus 2012 Can Even Bring Fall A Little Closer. (Or At Least, Its Pumpkin Ales!)
Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar – at this year’s Microfestivus, you might hear some of the volunteers mentioning these spices more than once, sounding more like they’re discussing a recipe for their grandmom’s pumpkin pie than a beer. But considering how some of the best pumpkin ales are known for tasting closely and deliciously like that favorite holiday dessert, it’s easy to understand where they get their flavor from. Actual additions of some or all of these spices to ales, as well as either whole pumpkin or pumpkin puree make for arguably the most popular seasonal beer to be released each year. And just as your grandmom’s pumpkin pie tasted better than any other because of which spices she used and how much of each, the better versions of these beers often are made with a fine-line balance between them and the other, more “expected” components of the beer. The best ones tend let those fall spices sit somewhere just off to the side, supporting a not-too-over the top malt sweetness, all rounded out with dryness that doesn’t taste unlike pie crust. Don’t forget that the aroma can be just like fresh baked pumpkin pie. Thirsty yet? True, even die hard fans of pumpkin ales will tell you that it’s the kind of thing appreciated one at a time, but the tasting experience of a well done pumpkin ale is something not to be missed – just like a piece of your grandmom’s pumpkin pie.
Those fans and anyone else curious about these beers will be in luck at this year’s Microfestivus. A couple of the more well known Pumpkin ales out there are currently scheduled to be on the beer list, including Heavy Seas’ (Baltimore, MD) Great Pumpkin and Southern Tier’s (Lakewood, NY) Pumpking. An earlier version of the festival beer list also had Williamsburg Alewerks’ (VA) Pumpkin Ale listed. Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is also on the list. It might be one of the more interesting taste comparisons the festival can offer, as anyone curious enough could try out and compare them all, one four ounce sample at a time.
Each year, the arrival of pumpkin ales is celebrated by fans throughout the country, almost to a groupie like level. In case you’re one of these folks, Microfestivus certainly has a beer – actually, a few – just for you. In case you’re not quite sold on pumpkin ales yet, save one of your tastings for a try. You just might be surprised at how close they come to your beloved grandmom’s pumpkin pie.
Roanoke’s Microfestivus Craft Beer Festival – this Saturday, August 11th!