DRINK IT DOWN: Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Weyerbacher Brewing Company
Beer: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Brewer: Weyerbacher Brewing Company
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Description: Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale pours a deep ruby red hue with brown highlights throughout and a frothy tan head that doesn’t stick around too long but leaves a thin lacing on the glass. The aroma is full of delicious pumpkin spice notes that are typical for a pumpkin ale, but pushed to the max. Strong notes of cinnamon and nutmeg are up front, balanced against hints of sweet caramel and followed by backing notes of cardamom and nutmeg. Truly the easiest way to describe the aroma is a fresh baked pumpkin pie.
Thankfully, the taste backs up the nose and explodes with pumpkin pie goodness. The pumpkin spice notes hit the palate first and are backed by the sweet malt that combine to give the impression of creamy pumpkin pie that is just perfect for the fall. The medium-full mouthfeel and moderate carbonation give this beer its smooth body, while the addition of real pumpkin also imparts a creamy mouthfeel. Weyerbacher has elevated the pumpkin ale to new heights with this fantastic rendition of the style!
Food pairing: This beer is a dream pairing for desserts, but it also pairs well with hearty fall recipes such as stews, chili, and many meat dishes. A wonderful dish in the fall is stew, and Imperial Pumpkin makes a stew even better. Try pairing it with baked beef stew; the sweet malt will gravitate towards the meat, while the spices will add a delicate touch to the vegetable to impart a truly fall-like flavor. Another great and somewhat obvious pairing is with a hearty pumpkin and beef stew, and if you want the full fall experience, serve it right out of the pumpkin!
Also try pairing Imperial Pumpkin Ale with spicy chili; the chili spices will meet their match with the sweet malt profile, while the pumpkin spices will take over the meat and impart a new layer of sweetness and flavor. The 8 percent ABV and spices from the chili will quickly warm you up on a chilly fall evening.
Practically any dessert works well with this beer. However, one truly remarkable pairing is with a richly decadent pumpkin cheesecake with graham cracker crust and dark chocolate drizzle. The sweetness of the cream cheese and malts will dance across your palate while the cinnamon will gravitate towards the crust, leaving the pumpkin flavors to spend some quality time together. This dessert pairing is truly the greatest beer and food match of the fall and possibly your life!
The final word: The pumpkin ale style is very divisive. Many loyalists see the style as being a part of every fall season, while others turn their noses towards it and view it as a gimmick beer. Regardless of your personal feelings, the style is not going anywhere. In fact, the popularity is evident everywhere and grows even more during the Halloween season. There is no shortage of pumpkin beers available, but there is a shortage on really good pumpkin beers available, ones that are so good that even those who claim to hate the style may enjoy them. Thankfully, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale is one of the best pumpkin ales available and is a must-try for all.
The only complaint about this beer is that it isn’t available year-round, but then again, when you get to have something so enjoyable in limited quantities, it makes it even more special. Not only is Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale one of the best pumpkin ales available, but it is also brewed right here in Pennsylvania, so support good beer and great PA breweries by picking some up today!
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Beer Boys (176 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre), Backyard Ale House (523 Linden St., Scranton), Cooper’s Seafood House (701 N. Washington Ave., Scranton), Exit 190 Beer Deli (316 Main St., Dickson City), Joe’s Six Packs to Go (620 N. Blakely St., Dunmore), and Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer (720 Wilkes-Barre Twp. Blvd., Wilkes-Barre).
Also, a trip to the Weyerbacher brewhouse in Easton is roughly an hour from NEPA and well worth the trip to get this great beer straight from the source!