As the fall season rapidly approaches the colors of the leaves and the weather won’t be the only changes to look forward to. Very soon light and crisp wheat beers will fade away off the shelves and off the tap lines to be replaced by the fall seasonal that has craft beer drinkers excited. Of course that is the annual return of pumpkin ales, and in Colorado one brewery has not only introduced an annual classic that is always anticipated, but a new one as well to be sold exclusively in Colorado. This of course is Epic Brewing with their new seasonal offering the Gourdian, and the annual return of Fermentation Without Representation, this year being release number 25. After sampling both beers here are the tasting notes from some of the first pumpkin ales of the season.
The Gourdian- Available in cans and coming in at a light 5.2% ABV this beer has a very unique taste not found in other pumpkin beers. The beer pours a bright copper color capped off by a slight off white head that perfectly resembles the colors of fall. The aroma is strong with pumpkin with undertones of a hint of cinnamon and other spices. With a very inviting and delicious aroma the only thing left to do was to try it. The body was light with a slightly dry, almost biscuit mouth feel with a slightly sweet flavor. The pumpkin flavor is prominent but does not overpower the malt flavor of the beer, but what sets this beer apart from other ales is the unique spice blend. Featuring both bitter and sweet orange peel, cacao nibs, star anise, and cinnamon the spice blend in this beer is one that reminds drinkers of the fall but so unique it is one drinkers have not had before. The cinnamon and star anise are warming spices that compliment the pumpkin, the cacao nibs add richness, and the orange peels add a refreshing note. The beer finishes very clean. With so many pumpkin beers soon to hit the shelf this season make sure the Gourdian is one you try, with its unique flavor, and refreshing flavor this is a great way to transition between seasons from summer into fall.
However, the Gourdian is not the only pumpkin beer that Epic will be offering this season, and as always the much anticipated Fermentation Without Representation Imperial Pumpkin Porter will be back.
Fermentation Without Representation-An imperial porter coming in at 8.6% ABV this is a perfect beer for when the colors and weather begin to change. A rich dark color is capped off by a light brown head that leads into a strong aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a hint of vanilla. With an aroma so complex it is sure to follow through to the flavor. The sip of this beer showed what a full bodied, full flavored beer this would be. The strong porter gave off a rich flavor with hints of chocolate and a great roasted flavor that would complement the pumpkin and spices perfectly. The pumpkin flavor was rich which only added to the full body of the beer but had a very fresh taste and stayed present through every sip. The spices were very complex but all worked in balance with the richness of the beer and pumpkin. Using a more traditional spice blend with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and clove this beer was very similar to pumpkin pie with chocolate undertones. A more unique pumpkin beer given how dark it is with so many layers of flavor from chocolate, to pumpkin, to the spices the end result is still a very well balanced beer. The aftertaste does linger with the spice notes but with such a full flavored beer you want to keep drinking it.
In a season where pumpkin beers are going to be on the shelf in abundance, deciding which ones to try can be a difficult decision. Thankfully, Epic has created two very unique and delicious offerings for fans to try. Whether a light, more sessionable beer is what you crave or a full flavored imperial porter, Epic has a pumpkin offering for fans of all styles. So, no matter what pumpkin beers you want in your fridge this year make sure there is room for the Gourdian or Fermentation Without Representation and enjoy the season from the warm beginnings to the cold nights.