It’s that time of year again. I’m sure you’ve already seen the memes online. Actor Sean Bean’s Ned Stark character from Game of Thrones leans on the hilt of his sword, his eyes squinting into the distance. “Brace yourself… Pumpkin everything is coming.”
While it’s true that breweries keep releasing their pumpkin beers earlier and earlier each year, two items should be taken into consideration. People gladly buy these beers in August and breweries are getting better at making them.
Something else happens this time of year, and it’s one of my favorite things in the whole, wide world. This weekend is the Emerald Coast Beer Fest. Heavy on the regional home brewers’ efforts, ECBF draws a big crowd of thirsty aficionados to sample the many-faceted faces of beer.
I wanted to tie the two – pumpkin beer and ECBF – together this year. As we just picked up their pumpkin beer, Hopjacks is going to host a Pint Night tomorrow night featuring Lexington Brewing & Distilling.
Let’s add a third brewing trend into the mix. Seems as if everyone is barrel-aging their beer these days for additional depth and sophistication. Lexington is distinctive in this regard as they age their beer in their own Bourbon barrels. By the way, the Bourbon that came out of those barrels can also be enjoyed at Hopjacks Downtown. We have their Town Branch Bourbon, Bluegrass Sundown Coffee-Bourbon liqueur and Town Branch Rye to try.
What we like to do with our Pint Nights is offer a complimentary glass from the featured brewery with the guest’s first selection at regular price. To encourage our guests to focus on that brewery for the rest of their visit, we offer $1.00 off all featured re-fills. Tomorrow night has us showcasing Lexington’s Barrel Ale, Barrel Stout and Kentucky Rye Barrel IPA plus one more. Brewery Supervisor Chris Lady is also scheduled to join us to discuss production and their history.
So what happens when you take pumpkin ale and age it in whiskey barrels? Sheer awesomeness, that’s what! The fourth option we’re offering from Lexington is their Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale. Making use of Kentucky-grown pumpkin and single-use barrels, this beer comes out cloudy orange-gold with a thin head that settles into a milky cap. The scents lean more upon the cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and allspice pie seasoning one would expect in this type of ale with hints at the gourd and Bourbon notes. Flavor-wise is where this one explodes! Pumpkin pie, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and oak come together with a creamy mouth feel and warming finish. Go easy with this sipper; it clocks in at 10% ABV.
Looking to upgrade your ECBF weekend? Join us at either Hopjacks location and get your gourd on! September 10, 5 pm at 9-Mile, 7 pm downtown. Like Sean Bean might say, “One does not simply make weak pumpkin ale…”