Friday's here, so it's time for beer.
Every Friday, so long as the creek don't rise, this beer enthusiast will take a look at a Florida beer that, hopefully, should be readily available in a local shop or on tap at your favorite bar.
We're back to a beer from the titans of Tampa, Cigar City Brewing, but this week's entry is getting seasonal: we're talking the impressive Good Gourd pumpkin beer.
This is not your grandfather's pumpkin beer. It's an 8.5% 'imperial pumpkin beer', which, after you taste it, you realize that THIS is what a pumpkin beer should taste like. I might be a notorious pumpkin beer hater amongst friends... and I guess now you all know... so I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
Brewed with Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican all-spice, Zanzibar cloves and nutmeg, Good Gourd comes out from Cigar City Brewing a few times during the run up to Thanksgiving. We grabbed ours in early September, and kept is cellared for this week. Seven weeks probably isn't enough to make any huge changes to the beer when compared to a fresh bottle, but this reviewer wanted to wait until Halloween to crack it open.
So what can be expected?
It pours slightly syrupy out of the bottle, giving visual cues to the amount of malt put into this one. The beer comes out a dark orange color with minimal foam. The middle of the glass shows an auburn hue peeking out from the orange. It's sexy and definitely fall worthy. I'm thinking it's like the changing of the leaves... whatever that's like.
The nose is highly aromatic, with vanilla and cinnamon really coming out in addition to a general aroma of sweetness.
The flavor is what knocks this out of the park. The thick, syrupy malt base holds up a pedestal of spice flavors that complement each other in that perfect pumpkin pie spice way: brown sugar and cloves seem to come out first, with cinnamon and nutmeg holding on to some apparent alcohol, giving that little bit of spicy heat to the last half.
This is a definite dessert beer, though it stood up to an umami-heavy mushroom ravioli during our tasting.
Overall, this is by and far a definitive beer for the season. I'd say, screw bringing the pumpkin pie this year: go for the boozy guns of Good Gourd and knock their socks off with some imperial pumpkin ale.
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