Pumpkin beers - I know of no other beer style beer geeks love to hate more than pumpkin beers. "I drink one a year," or "one every few years" are a few of the milder condescending remarks about fall's derided beer style. (Beer Samizdat defends pumpkin beers here.) Despite the disdain, I have seen more pumpkin beers this year than ever, including Ballast Point's Pumpkin Down Scottish ale and Stone Brewing's sort-of-harvesty-sounding collaboration beer, 24 Carrot Golden Ale. Someone must like these beers.
I am not a hater of pumpkin beers, although I may be responsible for the quotes above. I have found some thin and artificial, and others too malty for my personal taste, and unfortunately these are the beers that form most beer geeks' opinions. I bought Coronado's Punk'in Drublic last week, and it's quite a pumpkin beer. Punk'in Drublic is like so many other pumpkin-based foods, where its flavor comes more from its spices than its pumpkin, which is OK, because it's the spices that trigger the "pumpkin" taste. Punk'in Drublic is boozey and spicey, and its 8.0% abv is present throughout. It is robust, sweet, and malty, and its flavors intensify as it warms. If you want a bland, safe pumpkin beer, look for a macro label beer, or beer from a macro-owned former craft brewery. If you want a serious fall beer, get Punk'in Drublic. It's a pumpkin ale beer geeks will have a hard time ridiculing.