Derek Warren


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Beer: Rumpkin

Brewer: Avery Brewing Company

Style: Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 16.73%

Description: Avery’s Rumpkin pours a deep ruddy brownish amber color with a tan head that very quickly disappears. The aroma is like a perfect fall evening in front of a warm fireplace. Notes of brown sugar, clove, caramel, and allspice jump out in abundance, with strong notes from the rum apparent throughout. The initial sip is wonderful and overwhelming at the same time; there is a lot to take in all at once. The pumpkin pie in a glass taste certainly is true with this beer, with all the notes of clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg making an appearance.

After the spices wash over the palate, first a sweet, subtle caramel note follows with the alcohol heat and a taste of rum coming through on the back end. The rum barrels really do give quite an impact to this imperial pumpkin ale and add a lot of complexity along with the alcohol, which varies from year to year from 15 percent-18 percent ABV. Rumpkin is full-bodied with very little carbonation, but the body is certainly enough to handle the complex flavor profile of this amazing beer. This is also a beer that opens up more in aroma and flavor as it warms up, so give it some time!

Ideal setting: The high ABV of Rumpkin makes a great argument for staying at home to enjoy, although sharing a bottle with friends at your favorite craft beer bar is always a plus – just keep the ABV in mind. However, the ideal setting really is at home watching a great horror film or enjoying some great relaxing music to really set the mood.

Ideal music: Rumpkin has both a high ABV and flavor profile and can overwhelm the senses quite easily if this beer is not taken seriously enough. One way to help focus on the complexities of the beer a bit more is to have music that compliments the beer by not overstimulating too much; any instrumental music will help you fully enjoy the beer and relax the mind.
Some great albums to enjoy with this beer are:

Ideal movie: The heart of Rumpkin is a pumpkin beer, and the heart of pumpkin beers is fall, and the heart of fall is, of course, Halloween. Halloween inevitably leads the discussion towards horror films, but Rumpkin is a beer that is far above standard slasher fare and instead demands a more thought-provoking and involved plot. A longer running time is a great quality as well due to the higher-than-usual ABV. Great horror films to watch while enjoying Rumpkin are “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Repulsion,” “The Shining,” “Deep Red,” and “Hour of the Wolf.”

Ideal book: The high ABV and wonderful pumpkin spice aroma and flavors make Rumpkin a great beer to enjoy while reading some lighter horror-like books. A book that requires too much thought will quickly fall by the wayside as the alcohol begins to warm the body, so something light but reminiscent of the season is perfect. Some great books to read while drinking Rumpkin are “The Halloween Tree” by Ray Bradbury, “Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide” by Glenn Kay, “Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema” by Jamie Russell, and “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks.

The perfect experience: Rumpkin is a beer that is best sipped and enjoyed at home during a small get-together or alone in front of the TV watching a horror film or two, truly taking in all the joys of the Halloween season. Regardless if you drink this beer alone or surrounded by friends, be sure to take your time and show this beer the respect it deserves; otherwise, the high ABV will quickly ruin your evening and possibly morning.

How to Pair Beer with Everything is a weekly column about stimulating all of the senses through beer. Look for it every Thursday on NEPA Scene.