Coney Island Freaktoberfest

Coney Island FreaktoberfestHistoric Coney Island has been New York landmark for generations. Known for its amusement park, beaches, the annual Nathans hot dog eating contest and now a full-fledged brewery. What started as an off-shoot of the San Francisco based Shmaltz Brewing, was bought by the Boston Beer Company. Their Freaktoberfest is a different take on the ever popular pumpkin brews, brewed with espresso beans, giving a darker appeal and lovely aromas.

This beer pours a dark amber color with swirling carbonation. A little darker than some other pumpkin ales we tried. The head dissipates almost instantly leaving no lacing behind.

On the nose, the first aroma is nutmeg with some pumpkin spice notes as well. In the background there some nice malt with subtle fruit notes. There are traces of espresso that show, but don’t lead the pack.

The first sip holds strong fall flavors, nutmeg is out in front again but the espresso makes a bigger presence then on the nose. The spice is mild but still there plays well with the medium body and smooth maltiness. As the beer warms up, the nutmeg flavors start to mellow out while the rest of the flavors come together for a different take on a fall classic.

The Freaktoberfest combines fall flavors and light espresso notes to create a decent fall seasonal. Available in 6pks, drafts and of course at the new location on the Coney Island Boardwalk before taking a ride on the Cyclone in Luna Park. This can be enjoyed with a roasted duck, spicy chili or something creamy like flan.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out of 5 Pints

Fegley’s Devious Pumpkin Imperial Ale

Fegley's Devious Pumpkin Imperial AleIn 1995, one of the most difficult years in the history of Bethlehem, PA the Fegley family entered the brewing and restaurant business. The famous steel plant had been shutting down slowly, the historic Hotel Bethlehem declared bankruptcy, yet the Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works opened its doors at the corner of Main and Broad. Almost thirty year later, business is booming for the Fegleys and downtown Bethlehem. Their beers are bottled and distributed throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and their portfolio consists of two dozen year round and seasonal offerings. One of their fall seasonals is Devious Pumpkin, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

The beer pours an opaque rich and rustic copper color with dark orange highlights. The two finger eggshell colored head shows decent retention. Once it has completely dissipated there is a very light lacing that remains.

The nose offers up notes of pumpkin pie spices of nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cardamom. Sweet notes of pumpkin follow on the heels of the pie spice and blend with caramel malts. There is a touch of creamy vanilla as well.

The palate shows rich pumpkin and pie spices. The same spices from the bouquet, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cardamom are all discernible. Rich malts and creamy vanilla hit on the mid-palate, and a rich almost boozy sweetness carries through to the finish.

A great seasonal offering from the folks at Fegley’s. You’ll know with one sip that this is indeed an “imperial” pumpkin. Try pairing with Parmigiano Reggiano, braised pork with sweet potatoes or pecan pie. 4 out of 5 Pints

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out Of 5 Pints

Southern Tier Pumking

Southern Tier PumpkingEvery year during the fall months the craft beer community experiences a devotion to the world’s most famous squash…the pumpkin! From beers brewed with pumpkin to those with pumpkin pie spices, it seems as though almost every brewery offers some type of beer that honors the pumpkin. While there are a plethora of delicious offerings the Southern Tier Pumking is, without question, one of the best loved and best selling in NJ. This highly sought after beer includes both pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. After a great a trip to Southern Tier’s brewery and continuous great reviews from customers it became evident that we needed to blog about this amazing brew.

The beer pours a golden honey color with some light amber hues. The one finger white head dissipates rather quickly and leaves behind very little lacing. Noticeable, however, is the moderate carbonation of the beer, marked by a steady stream of rising bubbles.

Aromas of sweet pumpkin hits right off the bat. Pumpkin pie spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove accentuate the pumpkin without drowning it out. A sweet cornbread aroma lingers in the background along with caramel and vanilla notes.

On the palate the pumpkin pie spices are up front and are in perfect harmony with notes of candied pumpkin. There is a buttery, biscuit note that offers a flavor akin to a pie crust. There is also a creamy vanilla note that is somewhat reminiscent of whipped cream. Some earthy hop notes balance all the sweetness and there is a warming boozy note that reminds you this is actually a beer and not a liquefied slice of pumpkin pie. This is one of the only pumpkin beers out there that showcases a pie crust note along with the standard flavors of pumpkin pie filling. Well balanced and not to heavy or cloying.

Another great beer from our friends at Southern Tier. A perfect match of cooler nights, aged cheddar, braised pork with drunken apples or pumpkin cheesecake. 4.5 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints 

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current  inventory! 

Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream

Magic Hat Wilhelm ScreamThe Magic Hat Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by Alan Newman and Bob Johnson in Burlington, Vermont. Twenty years later Magic Hat is known the world over for their craft brews. Their newest seasonal is a pumpkin ale by the name of Wilhelm Scream. Wilhelm Scream refers to a Hollywood sound effect that has been used in more than 200 movies over the last 70 years.

Curious about the Wilhelm Scream sound effect? Check out this link for a compilation video that showcases just some of the movies the sound effects has been used in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdbYsoEasio

Curious about the Wilhelm Scream Pumpkin Ale? Well we’ve got you covered there too… check out the rest of this blog for further details.

The beer pours a rust almost copper color with orange highlights when viewed directly against the light. The half finger tan colored head dissipates quickly and leaves behind a light scattered lacing a top the beer.

On the nose nutmeg spice dominates the bouquet. There are other pumpkin pie spice notes of cinnamon and allspice but the nutmeg is definitely the star. Fleshy over ripened pumpkin aromas are notable underneath all the spices. Rounding out the bouquet is a touch of toasty malts.

The palate is almost identical to the bouquet. Nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice flood the palate along with a touch of sweet vanilla. An earthy, vegetal pumpkin note is notable but is over shadowed by the spice. There is a hint of caramelized malts that adds complexity and balance. The pumpkin pie spice notes really give you a taste of fall.

Magic Hat has created a great pumpkin ale. This is a must try for those who are fans of autumn spices but aren’t in love with the almost overwhelming pumpkin notes found in many pumpkin beers. I can’t say the beer will evoke the Wilhelm Scream but it is a great beer nonetheless. Try it with aged gouda, roast duck or rice pudding. 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints 

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current  inventory!  

Arcadia Jaw Jacker Pumpkin Ale

Arcadia Jaw JackerArcadia Brewing Company was established in 1996 as a microbrewery specializing in handcrafted British-style ales. Their current portfolio of classic, seasonal, specialty and reserve beers total 17 offerings. Their Jaw Jacker Pumpkin Ale is a seasonal that graces palates during the fall months, brewed with pumpkin pie spices.

The beer pours a hazy bright orange color with golden hues. There is a small amount of notable sediment in the glass. The thin off white head dissipates rather quickly and leaves a light lacing that disappears itself within minutes.

The nose shows pumpkin pie spices dominated by nutmeg. Notes of cinnamon, allspice and clove follow the nutmeg. There are sweet caramel malt aromas and what seems to be a hint of orange peel. A faint aroma of vanilla also makes an appearance.

The palate offers up what the nose set the stage for, but it seems to be muted in comparison. Spice notes of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice are notable. There is a hint of vanilla which intertwines with a mild floral note. The finish shows a slight roasted bitterness with a distinctive citrus note. The beer is rather light and the flavors noted are thin allowing the possibility for the Jaw Jacker to be a great session beer.

A nice effort from Arcadia to break from the pack and produce a beer with pumpkin pie spice but without pumpkin. This is a great pair for roasted pork, smoked brats or apple pie. Bottle King Beer Buyer Rating

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 2.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Big Muddy Pumpkin Smasher

Big Muddy Pumpkin Smasher All over the United States, craft breweries are continuing an American tradition which experienced an almost 50 year drought after the repeal of prohibition.

Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro, Illinois is like many of these new “microbreweries” all over the country. Reinvigorating an industry and continuing a heritage that has skipped several generations. Big Muddy currently offers seven brews, the newest being their Pumpkin Smasher, a beer brewed with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices.

The beer pours a hazy copper color with orange hues. The one finger head is a cream colored with a light yellow tint. The head dissipates quickly and leaves almost no lacing at all.

From the first whiff, notes of ripe pumpkin jump from the glass. Amidst the pumpkin are notes of lightly toasted malts. Aromas of caramel and brown sugar add a notable sweetness to the pumpkin and malt notes. Soft spice aromas of mostly nutmeg with a hint cinnamon intertwine with the rest of the bouquet.

On the palate there is a dominating flavor of ripe, fleshly pumpkin. The pumpkin is met by a sweet malt backbone that is slightly toasty. Once again, the pumpkin pie spices, dominated by nutmeg make an appearance. The hops are practically undetectable except for providing balance and adding a mild floral note. The clean finish offers notes of sweet heavy cream and vanilla that make one think of whipped cream melted atop a piece of warm pumpkin pie.

Big Muddy Pumpkin Smasher is much lighter than many pumpkin beers on the market today. It’s dominating pumpkin notes in combination with its lighter spice notes and creaminess makes it unique. This is one pumpkin beer you could drink several of in one sitting. A great pair for roasted pork loin with root vegetables, mixed greens with pears and blue cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette, or pumpkin cheesecake. 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Sam Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale

Sam Adams Fat Jack Pumpkin AleIn 1984, Jim Koch, founder and chairman of The Boston Beer Company, began production of  Samuel Adams in his kitchen. These days, Sam Adams produces two million barrels of Samuel Adams flagship Lager a year. They also now produces over two dozen additional beers on a regular and seasonal basis. Their Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale is part of their seasonal line, available on a limited basis, in limited quantities.

The Fat Jack Double Pumpkin is a rich copper color with red hues when poured. The head is thin, light tan in color, and dissipates immediately. The carbonation is light but lively in the glass from the first sip to the last.

On the nose there are sweet aromas of honeyed, malted cinnamon. As the malty notes begin to fade, they are filled with a wave of apple pie and vanilla while still maintaining the honey and cinnamon originally detected. Pumpkin, being as mild as it is, was not discernible on the nose despite the 28 pounds of pumpkin that is used to brew each barrel of the Fat Jack.

On the palate you immediately notice the creamy mouthfeel of this medium bodied brew. The first wave delivers a strong malt flavor interlaced with notes of cinnamon. Similar to the nose, the malt begins to fade while the cinnamon remains and intertwines beautifully with the emerging ginger, nutmeg and caramel flavors.  On the finish malt returns as the caramel sweetness fades. The spice notes also diffuse and finally give way to notes of pumpkin which linger on the smooth finish.

Fat Jack Double Pumpkin is a solid pumpkin beer – nothing extraordinary, but still a fine example of the category. A beer worth trying for any lover of pumpkin beers.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 2.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory