Starting with this review, I’ll be sampling quite a few seasonal Fall beers and ciders, to get into the spirit of Football season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, setting giant piles of leaves on fire, and dressing up as a gorilla to scare the children as they beg for candy. What could be better?
Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking beer, that’s what! My oh my, this was a tasty beer. However, I will post a disclaimer before I go on. I love pumpkin pie. Hell, I love pumpkin in general. Anything made with pumpkin, I’m on board with. So, yes, perhaps this review will be a little biased. But! There are certainly a number of ways to screw up a perfectly good pumpkin ale. I’ve had terrible products in the past. This is not one of them. This is the King.
I knew this would be a magical experience as soon as I cracked the cap. I was greeted by a smell right out of my memories. Thanksgiving morning, in a toasty kitchen, with the smell of pumpkin pie hugging my nose’s pie sensors like a delicious blanket. The aroma of this beer is sweet and buttery, with smooth richness that makes you salivate in anticipation. A mild nuttyness compliments hints of cinnamon, sugars, and allspice. Its basically like pie in a sniff. And that’s glorious.
The first bottle taste is even better. It changes from straight pie to pie n’ beer. Pie, and beer! At the same time! Yes please. Hops show up first, but they politely step out of the way and cheer from the sidelines as the stars arrive. The buttery smoothness, the spices, the sugar, and finally, the king itself, the pumpkin. They hit your tongue all at once, just like pumpkin pie, from the crust to the filling. It’s a flavor that lingers for a long time, while mixing in with those hops and reminding you that this pie isn’t a pie, it’s beer. Potently delicious pie beer. Nothing overpowers. The flavors are strong, but not overly intense. Everyone behaves, which keeps the entire experience mellow and chilled out. This beer wants you to enjoy all of its flavors.
The bottle tells me to pour it into a goblet. Well, I don’t own a goblet (I need to), so I poured the rest into a widemouth mason jar. It just felt right. The color is a rich copper, with a thick, cream-colored head. Once poured, the flavors didn’t explode as I was expecting. Instead, they continued to mix and swirl beneath the foam, acting like the most well behaved Thanksgiving get together. It maintained its pumpkin pie taste throughout, with the hops helping from the backlines. The entire ensemble gave it a warm and cozy feeling, like you’re supposed to drink it in front of a fire.
It’s delicious, wonderful, and memorable. It pulls all of your senses into play, not just taste and smell. It conjurs up memories of comfort and holidays that last as long as you’re drinking. And this is a beer you should take your time with. You can definitely chug it, but why? Go slow. Savor the craftmenship that went into this liquid perfection. It receives high marks in taste, appearence, drinkability, and lasting strength. The flavor is consistent throughout, and every flavor behaves better than you ever have. Its only negative is the price. At $9 for a pint and a half, it’s definitely not something most will be able to enjoy unlimitedly. But, since it’s a seasonal beer, I can overlook its price. Tis the season, I say. So, if you’re a fan of pumpkin beer, fall beers, or just pumpkin in general, you should absolutely love this. Southern Tier Imperial Pumking receives a massive A, and a place at the Thanksgiving table right next to me.
Lasting Strength: 5/5
Overall: 4.85/5 A