No, not Melange...variety.
In the past, I have lamented about my efforts to find an acceptable Pumpkin Beer...too often, I bring home a 6-pack, and after drinking the first beer, the other 5 will sit in the fridge for a long while.
Last night, we found a way around that by inviting some friends over for a Pumpkin Beer/Cider tasting last night. Just said...hey, everyone pick a 6-pack, or a growler, or a couple of 22oz bottles, and come on over. I picked up a few different sizes of plastic cups so people could either easily sample/drink as much or as little of each one as they wanted.
Amazingly enough, with no real coordination, NO ONE showed up with the same thing.
This was near the end of the evening...wish I had taken the picture earlier when we had more stuff...but I was distracted tasting.
We had a good turnout, and a wide variety of beverages showed up...I should have written them down, but let's see what I can remember:
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Anderson Valley Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Southern Tier's PUMKING, Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale, Rogue Farms Marionberry Braggot, Elysian's The Great Pumpkin, Elysian's Punkuccino, and Elysian's Dark O' the Moon.
Anthem's Hopped Cider, Wandering Aengus Oaked Dry, Wyder's Pear, D's Wicked Baked Apple, D's Wicked Green Apple, and Woodchuck Reserve Pumpkin Cider.
So, obviously, I'm not going to review them all...now...but a few stand out(for the right, and the wrong reasons).
That Marionberry Braggot...very strange. I actually had to look up what a 'braggot' is. Turns out is very closely related to mead, and the hops is optional. Rogue Farms put hops in theirs, which might or might not have effected my enjoyment of it. It just wasn't...I won't it wasn't good...it just wasn't a flavor that I(or anyone else) was looking for. I'm not sure anyone did more than taste test this one. If we had come close to running out of beer, this would have been the last one standing.
Another beer where hops made a difference is the Anthem Hopped Cider. The hops gave the Anthem Cider perhaps the best nose of any of the ciders, but it didn't translate to the palate. The best tasting of the ciders was the D's Wicked Baked Apple, with the Woodchuck Pumpkin and D's Green Apple tying for 2nd place.
On a whole, based off the unscientific 'least beer remaining' method, the most popular beer of the evening was the Elysian Dark O' the Moon, a pumpkin stout. I know it was my favorite...just a great dark stout, with pumpkin, spice, and creaminess.
I'm not sure there was a consensus 2nd Place...some folks liked the Punkaccino, but it's a distinctive flavor, mixing coffee and pumpkin. It's not for everyone. The Elysian Great Pumpkin, Rogue Pumpkin Patch and the Southern Tier PUMKING all had their fans. The only one of the pumpkin beers that I think I wouldn't spend money on was the Blue Moon. I enjoy Blue Moon's normal beer...I was just impressed by the Harvest Pumpkin.
All in all, it was a good evening...and a great way to try a lot of different things. Plus, as the host, I find myself with more beer in the house than I am going to be able to drink today...even with the NFL's London Game giving me a head start at 6:30 this morning.