I had a couple of friends over last night and, as a treat, cracked open a beer Shaun had sent me, Seattle's Elysian Brewing's The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale. I've been stuck in IPA land lately with the weather warming up and so, so many great ones hitting the market. This made The Great Pumpkin a nice change of pace; but this beer is hardly just a diversion, it's to be beholden unto itself.
I was worried about hanging on to this one too long. Fruit beers don't tend to last since their primary characteristic dies in the bottle before other elements. Fortunately, the relatively high ABV on this, 7.7%, served as a life preserver. TGP starts out with a faint pumpkin smell, and the body did not display impressive carbonation; only a thin layer of bubbles graced the honeyed orange colored brew. I also smelled spices. A mild hoppy-barley flavor grabs you initially, with a lot of malt thrown in. Then comes the kicker. Your mouth explodes with nutmeg and other spice as if you are eating mom's pumpkin pie. In fact, your palate becomes rather painted with pumpkin after a while. The mouthfeel is silky with ripply massages of carbonation.
Yum. Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy would be stalking the patch to get some of this if they were to pursue some underage (and dog) drinking. And whether your next Halloween costume is Peanuts themed or otherwise, I encourage you to quaff on one of these delicious pumpkin beers, perhaps the finest of its kind.
PROS: A delicious treat that puts your mind at the Thanksgiving table.
CONS: I can't get that Peanuts theme out of my head now.
VERDICT: Get yourself some of this, and turn up the Van Morrison on your stereo to blot out the Peanuts theme. As for the urge to do the Snoopy dance after your first sip: just go with it.
4.2 of 5 stars. Unique.