The challenge has always been to avoid the deluge of pumpkin spice anything/everything until right around Halloween. Every year, this gets a little harder, as decorative gourd season has crept into late summer and pumpkin beers start cropping up on shelves in early August. Pumpkin beers are such an invasive species that they have almost completely grown over festbier season (September) in the U.S. Not to mention that they remain on the shelves through Thanksgiving now because they resemble pumpkin pie or some horseshit like that.
Meet your new favorite pumpkin beer: Cigar City’s Good Gourd. Extended time with family during Halloween and Thanksgiving calls for an extra-strong brew to take the edge off and this 8.8% ABV imperial pumpkin ale fits the bill. It’s a deceptively strong pumpkin ale, too, due in part to its lighter body and creamy mouth feel. It actually drinks a bit more like a Märzen, the favored German Oktoberfest standby—although the head is much quicker to dissipate, and the hops create a modicum of bitterness that you’re not going to get at a Bavarian beer hall.
One of Good Gourd’s good-est attributes is the balance of spices. The flavor from the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger creates just enough of a warming effect to peg this imperial pumpkin ale as an autumn seasonal, The allspice/cloves comes through much more in the aroma than the flavor, but all of it meshes perfectly with the mellowness of the pumpkin, which sorta smells like the inside of a hollowed out jack o’ lantern and tastes like a Thai musaman curry. Cigar City does exceptionally well when it comes to balancing sweeter flavors, with this and the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie brown ale as exemplars. A rum barrel aged version of Good Gourd would be pretty kick ass, too—definitely worth adding to a wish list and lifting the prohibition of pumpkin beers in December for.
For more info on Cigar City Brewing, please head here.