It’s been a fairly slow week at work this week with no one in the office really. So tonight, we’re relaxing a bit and preparing for a murder mystery party we’re hosting tomorrow night. I’ve been trying to finish off the IPAs and seasonal beers I have in the beer fridge. I bought this one five years ago for October, and never got around to having it. The bottle is marked as “Blend 16” and says it was “Bottled 09-17-2012,” so it’s about 5 years old now. Jolly Pumpkin ages their beers in oak barrels, giving it a little bit of funk. However, even after aging their Noel de Calabaza for 5 and a half years, it was pretty good when I had it earlier this year.
Location: Poured into a large curved goblet style glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 5.9% ABV, ~160 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark amber-orange in color and had a huge fluffy head on it. Over the years, the carbonation really built up giving the head really great retention and lacing. The aroma is mostly a smooth funkiness with some hints of faint cinnamon and nutmeg.
Taste & Feel: The body is pretty light, as I’m sure it’s thinned out a bit over time. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a little bit of a light tart bite from the funkiness. The front is a bit hard to pick out through the tingle of carbonation, but it’s a bit of a malty tartness. In the middle, the sweetness picks up slightly with faint hints of cinnamon spices. The dry finish is a sour tartness, not quite, but almost like having a SweetTart dissolve in your mouth. It’s not overpowering, and is enjoyable and it fades slowly in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: Since this is fairly tart, I’d probably pair it with something that cuts down a bit on the tartness and acidity. Therefore, I’d pair this beer with something creamy, like a potato soup on a cold day, or a creamy bowl of pasta.
Overall Impression: The only evidence that this was a pumpkin beer was a very light sweetness and faint hints of cinnamon and nutmeg spices. Over the years, the funk took over the flavors in this beer. However, as someone who’s not a huge fan of sour beers, I didn’t find this beer to be overly sour or tart. The amount of dryness and tart-sour funk was perfect for a beer that had been aged this long. I’d love to see what this beer tastes like fresh, to see what the impact of fresher pumpkin and spices might have on this beer. Overall, it was a good sour beer, but I cellared this too long to really enjoy the pumpkin beer characters properly.