Weekend Tap Update: Roanoke Becomes A Pumpkin (Ale) Patch For The Weekend. Plus, Oktoberfest Is Here!

Apparently, Roanoke looks pretty darn sincere from above.  The only prerequisite for Linus’ Great Pumpkin to appear in his pumpkin patch on Halloween, spreading toys to deserving children, was a healthy dose of sincerity.  A look around the newer draft selections in Roanoke seems to reveal that if there were a craft beer version of Great Pumpkin, not only did it find the Star City worthy, but we didn’t have to wait all night long in a pumpkin patch for it to show up.  This Great Pumpkin drives a beer truck, and a cornucopia of frothy gifts has already been left behind.  For both the true fans of Pumpkin Ales or for those who have always been curious, this is your weekend:  three worthy examples of Pumpkin Ales are now on tap around Roanoke.

Starting with what arguably might be fan favorite number one, Southern Tier’s Pumking went up on tap recently at Local Roots Restaurant.  The New York based brewery pretty much nailed the style with this one, finding a way to work around one of the most often heard complaint among these beers – that the fall like spices used in most of these ales are a bit too heavy.  I find that Pumking features a deft balance of spice, sweet, and a flavor tasting not unlike flaky pie crust.  Like all good Pumpkin Ales, this one tastes as if you could pour it into a pie dish and bake it, with a slight alcohol kick.  If you only taste one among the four, this might be it.

Two different Pumpkin Ales are available at Blue 5 currently.  One is Weyerbacher’s (PA) Imperial Pumpkin, which might be the rowdier brother to Pumking’s stately persona.  Big caramel sweetness whip around the spice flavors of nutmeg and clove like the wind around leaves on a blustery fall night.  A hearty beer, with bold flavors, this one does not hide any alcohol bite – after all, it is an “Imperial” version of the style – but it doesn’t get in the way either.  The second example is New Holland’s (MI) Ichabod Pumpkin Ale.  There are plenty of spice flavors here as well, along with a bit of sweetness and a dry pie crust flavor in the finish.  This one is a good contrast to the Weyerbacher, with plenty of flavor without being over the top.  It isn’t to say that either one isn’t a good selection, but simply two very different approaches to this kind of beer.

Not into Pumpkin beers?  Not to worry – over the last week, there have been a bunch of non Pumpkin Ales to surface around town.  At Blue 5, two of perhaps the best IPAs in the country are still riding out their stays on draft.  Stone Brewing’s (CA) Ruination and Avery’s (CO) DuganA are both tongue twisting, earth shaking IPAs.  A prickly wave of pineapple and other sharp citrus flavors is the top most yet thin layer skimming on the surface of a two story tsunami wave of robust, deep malt sweetness, along with a slightly tongue twisting “dank” flavor and dry-ish finish is the you-better-be-ready-cause-here-we-go experience found in Ruination.  Not terribly bitter, this is huge on taste and frighteningly “easy” to drink, for an Imperial IPA.  Avery’s DuganA is another personal favorite, featuring a diverse and up front citrus presence of apricots and peach like flavors, a swiftly running stream of sweetness, and constant edge of hop bitterness which is neither too much or too little.  It all melds into one heck of a ride.

Blue 5 also added Terrapin’s Monk’s Revenge, a Belgian IPA which is more Belgian than IPA, Avery’s “Nineteen”, a Tripel, Left Hand Brewing’s (CO) 400 Pound Monkey, an English IPA.  Local Roots also added Blue Mountain’s Local Species, a barrel aged Belgian style ale.

Ready for fall but still not into Pumpkin beers?  Don’t forget the Oktoberfest themed celebration at Martin’s Grill downtown tomorrow, from 3pm to 1am.  For more information, check out theBeerRoad’s previous post about the event, from a couple days ago.

Whatever your tastes, it looks like it will prove to be another amazing craft beer weekend in Roanoke, so no waiting out in the pumpkin patch – get out and taste some amazingly good, well crafted beer!


~ by thebeerroad on September 14, 2012.

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