Southern Tier Brewing has been showing up in limited quantities here in Central Oregon lately, but those have been (mostly) confined to their limited Imperial Stout series; the one you all know I really wanted to try for quite awhile was their Imperial Pumking:
Pumking is an ode to Púca, a creature of Celtic folklore, who is both feared and respected by those who believe in it. Púca is said to waylay travelers throughout the night, tossing them on its back, and providing them the ride of their lives, from which they return forever changed! Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spicy aromas present themselves, let its deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape. This beer is brewed with pagan spirit yet should be enjoyed responsibly.
When we were in Portland over Labor Day weekend, our visit to Belmont Station found the first bottle of this that I have encountered—which of course I couldn’t leave without. At 9% alcohol by volume, this is a worthy first beer to highlight for Pumpkin Beer Week.
Appearance: Light orange color with a touch of (chill) haze, otherwise fairly clear; decent but low head, off-white. Very effervescent, lots of tiny bubbles rising.
Smell: Creamy, spicy, malty aromas; allspice and brown sugar come to mind first. Very nice. Maybe a note of toasted marshmallow?
Taste: Big flavors up front, of toasty and spicy malts (caramelized sugars) along with a bitter bite that could be the alcohol, or it could be spices clashing with hops, it’s a little jarring. But there’s more of that toasted marshmallow character which is really interesting. Creamy allspice with nitty, malty notes that are nice. [Later, as it warms—hazelnut.]
Mouthfeel: Medium-full-bodied with a clean presence and a bittering alcohol bite.
Overall: Big and interesting; very well done spicing and nose, and though there are some really nice flavors happening, the bitter “clash” is a bit jarring too.