Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Beer Update

I've now sampled all three fall beer styles I wrote about here: pumpkin, Oktoberfest and fresh hop.  Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale is a brown ale spiced with allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.  It has pumpkin, too, but the autumn vegetable is overpowered by the allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.  I enjoyed Punkin Ale, and at over 7% ABV it had enough heft to match its many ingredients.  Pumpkin ales, to me, fall down when they are too thin, and end up tasting more like a flavor-infused macro beer than a craft ale.  Punkin Ale has character and depth of flavor, but sneaks into Holiday beer territory, which is not a bad thing.

I had a pint of Karl Strauss' Oktoberfest beer last weekend. It's an easy drinking beer.  It's malt-forward, but not in the throat-clogging way of many malty beers.  I was struck by Oktoberfest's yeasty aroma and its comforting taste of soft bread.  This smooth drink is my kind of German beer, neither overly complex nor strange - just good.
I didn't think I'd get to fresh hopped ale last, but I did and Pizza Port Ocean Beach's Coup D'Etat was worth the wait.  An initial, shockingly bitter jolt is countered by a malty sweetness, which gives the IPA an overall intense, citrus juiciness.  This is a delicious beer, and, incredibly, more balanced than I expected.  To me, Coup D'Etat is a textbook fresh hop ale - extreme, almost painful bitterness, rounded out with a sweet, citrus juiciness.  It's a glass of pure hop liquid joy.

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