Recently, we’ve taken some flak for turning up our noses at ‘extreme’ beers. Just to set the record straight, ‘extreme’ beers are every bit as valid as good beers that are skillfully brewed to style. To level the playing field, we shall now review an ‘extreme’ beer: Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale.
The beer pours a deep amber, almost ruby color, with a semi-persistent head that leaves some lacing on the inside of the glass. The bouquet is a veritable spice rack of fall dessert essences: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, you name it.
I must admit to being stunned by the flavor; this might be the best pumpkin ale I’ve ever had. Far from overpowering, the pumpkin comes through in the nose and melds nicely with the spices. Unlike many pumpkin ales, hops are still noticeable in the finish, contrasting beautifully with the beer’s slight sweetness.
At 9% it isn’t the most extreme beer in the world, but it’s going down a lot better than the Avery Mephistopheles and “The Kaiser” Imperial Oktoberfest we choked down earlier. I’m surprised at the quality of this pumpkin ale. Weyerbacher took a novelty style and actually turned it into a quality big beer.
If that’s extreme, we don’t want to be mild.