Yesterday, on Halloween Day, E. and I were total curmudgeons and we turned off the porch light and hid from anyone who dared ring our doorbell. Luckily only one poor soul bothered.
But that did not stop us from getting into the Fall festivities! In the spirits of all things Fall, celebrating Halloween, and looking forward to Thanksgiving we set up our own little pumpkin beer tasting! We did it a bit on the fly so we weren’t organized enough to actually get a party hosted around it and it ended up being just us two. But, I still thought it was such a fun idea that I wanted to share it to folks as an idea for an interactive party ‘game’, a fun adult event for Thanksgiving, or just a great excuse to have a party, period!
For our ‘event’ we had six different pumpkin beers and we decided to rate them 1-6 (1 being best) and give our descriptions. The six beers we tasted were: Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale, Southern Tier Brewing’s Pumpking Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Anheuser-Busch’s Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale, Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale, and Cape Ann’s Fisherman Pumpkin Stout.
We also did a blind tasting… ‘how’ you ask?
Well as you can see from the pic above, I lined up the beer bottles behind each pour, then took them into the other room and switched them around a bazillion times so I definitely didn’t know what was what… this unfortunately worked all too well when after we’d tasted everything I realized I hadn’t labeled them in any other way- so we scoured the photo I took trying to compare colors, but 4 of them were VERY similar… so we did it again. This time labeling a piece of paper on one side with the name and the other side with a number, then switched them around SO many times again we actually lost track of which beer was what, but this time being able to go back and look when we were done!
Our ratings were as follows:
E: #1 – Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale; #2- Dogfish’s Punkin Ale; #3- Post Road Pumpkin Ale; #4- Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead, #5- Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale; #6- Fisherman’s Stout
Me: #1- Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead; #2- Dogfish’s Punkin Ale; #3- Pumpking Imperial Pumpkin Ale; #4- Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale; #5- Post Road Pumpkin Ale; #6- Fisherman’s Stout
In defense of the Fisherman’s Stout- we loved the beer but it was just so low on the pumpkin flavor it almost didn’t seem to fit!
So if you think this sounds like a fun time here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Find 4-7 beers to choose from – depending where you’re located you should have access to a variety of micro brews different from the ones listed above- if you’re in the Northeast the challenge will be to find additional ones to those I’ve listed!
- If you want to do the Pumpkin one specifically, act fast! They’ll only be available for a little while longer- otherwise maybe try a winter seasonal as we move into the colder months.
- Plan a little bit ahead if you want it to be part of a party or have it be THE party. Invite enough folks to get a wide range of opinions!
- When making it a blind taste test make sure you have a way to determine which beer is what after you’ve tasted. Ideally even have one person not involved in the tasting, manage the beer-pourings and labeling, etc…
- Have people judge on and note a variety of things- flavor, smell, which they liked best and why. Whatever you think will be interesting to consider! Even ask people to guess the specific beer for each sample. Good chance they’ll be surprised with at least one of their guesses!
- Make a contest out of it- if you have people guess the specific beers for each sample… (obviously with previous knowledge of what the beers are they are sampling)… the person with the most correct answers get’s to take home a six-pack of their #1 beer choice from the tasting. Note: Make sure to buy plenty of extra beer…
- Party gift idea- if you have a smaller group why not make a mixed six-pack of the beers you’re tasting for everyone to take home with them?
This is a fun, simple party to pull together and a great way to taste some regional flavor! Hopefully you’ll give it a try and have some great beer-debate and even stir up a bit of controversy! Send me your tasting stories, ratings, and pics if you do it and I’ll be happy to reblog results!