Sean Lightholder’s Pumpkin Ales: Guest Post No. 9


Eighth in the series of 2014 pumpkin beer is Alaska’s Pumpkin Porter.
I swear Alaska can do no wrong. If you have ever had one of their porters, in particular, they’re magnificent. This seasonal twist is no exception.

As this motor­oil­black (24 SRM) porter coursed into my glass and I eyed the 7% ABV on the bottle my mouth braced for a roasty, aggressive beer. Alaska’s superlative smoked porter (for example) is pretty meaty, but I could not have been more wrong about what I’d just poured. Alaska Pumpkin Porter looks mean, but it purrs like a kitten. A dreamy, creamy mouthfeel shepherds an exquisite malt character into being, followed by a very mild, delicate roast finish. Pumpkin, brown sugar, and some very restrained spicing present an all­too­fleeting complexity you’ll want to chase down the hallway, get its number and nervously ask if you can hang out together some time. Once the first sip of this magnificent brew has startled you with its gentle, drinkable character you’ll find yourself glancing furtively toward the fridge to see how many bottles are left…because
you know the one at hand isn’t going to last long. I can only imagine what this would be like on a nitrogen pour (even though I know some porter fans out there might crucify me for that comment).

I had to force myself to move on to the other pumpkin beer in my fridge after a bottle of this one. What I wanted to do was stop, find a comfy chair, and get to know every bottle in this six pack in minute detail.

You might be tempted to let the sky darken before cracking an Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, but this beautiful dark seasonal belies its hefty 7% ABV and drinks like a much lighter beer without sacrificing any of the rich complexity you’d expect from a porter. Alaska has
given the drinker just enough of everything you love in a porter to allow the often- overwhelmed pumpkin to put its best face forward. This is a beer you’ll want to serve to, well, anyone, but especially to those who think brewing with pumpkin is merely a marketing gimmick. Alaskan Pumpkin Porter is the poster child of for how pumpkin flavor can take a beer to the next level.

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