Fall Brings New Rum-Tinged Pumking Ale
By Ben Casella
A few days ago, I almost caught a glimpse of a unicorn. A friend texted me to say he knew of someone in town who had gotten his hands on a few Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPAs. We were just a little too late, as the few that were here vanished before dawn. Truly, a chance to catch a unicorn but just a little too late.
Well, sometimes life just goes that way, but I’m over it. Maybe it’s my good attitude about the whole matter (which unfolded in its entirety in about four minutes), but not long after that I was introduced to a very tasty take on pumpkin ale from the brewers at Southern Tier in New York. I’m going to try to find a few more to stow away for when the weather decides to cool off and stay that way. I’ve outlined it below and would recommend it all by itself first, then perhaps with some dough balls from The Pizza Joint.
Southern Tier Rum Barrel Aged Pumking – Yes. You read this correctly. There’s a Pumking that came into contact with rum barrels, and it’s worthy of your sampling. I’ve been a Pumking fan (more so than its evil twin, Warlock) for years now, and this year has been no different.
Picking up some pizza from The Joint on Broad Street led to me sitting with my buddy John for a minute and having a cold one and a brief conversation. Someone had poured an Angry Orchard cider by mistake and left it for anyone who wanted it. I intended no offense but politely declined. With that said, I saw the usual two Southern Tier fall taps: Pumking and Warlock. Then I asked the bartender, “What’s that one in the middle?” She plainly said it was Rum Barrel Aged Pumking.
I was halfway looking around for a cord to pull so that balloons and confetti would rain down on all the patrons when she said the name of the beer. I tried to calmly say, “May I please have a pint of that?” However, it came out more as a “yes, yes, please and thank you!” – kind of like the dog from those bacon-flavored dog food commercials from the ’90s …
I digress. The nose is, well, Pumking and rum. It’s sweeter on the nose than the original Pumking. The rum notes really come through on the back end when you breathe out after the sip. It’s not sappy or thicker in any regard, just balanced, and with a touch of hops to round it out.
I will be on the lookout for another one or two of these brews in the near future, and I should be on the lookout for more funky takes on pumpkin beers since so many are on the market these days. Man, I love fall, y’all.
Ben Casella has recently been challenged to a trivia night competition at a bar. He doesn’t know when or at which bar this is supposedly taking place. However, he hopes to win, and he hopes it’s at Stillwater Taproom.