Beer: Cold Brew Coffee Pumking
Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, NY)
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer
8.6% ABV / 30 IBU
With two radically different pumpkin beers in its seasonal line-up, Southern Tier is the undisputed king of the style. Especially when it comes to innovating, because Pumking and Warlock offer radically different interpretations of the pumpkin beer style. Warlock, an imperial stout with pumpkin flavoring, has its ardent fans, but it’s a stout at its core. Pumking, an imperial ale brewed with pumpkin pie spices, hews a lot closer to the Platonic ideal of the style—basically, pumpkin pie in liquid form.
Over the last few years, Southern Tier has branched out with both of its core pumpkin beers, expanding the lines with barrel-aging and nitro cans. That’s a logical progression for the Warlock stout, but Southern Tier’s experiments with the more neutral canvas of Pumking have been really rewarding. Chai Tea Infused Pumking—sadly only available on draft—helps to neutralize the strong clove notes of Pumking with a healthy dose of cardamom. Cold Brew Coffee Pumking is similarly excellent, pairing a smooth coffee flavor with the warming notes of the pumpkin pie spices.
The effect is not mellow like a pumpkin spice latte, but aggressively roast-y and malt-forward. Since the cold brew process typically uses 2.5x as many beans as hot coffee, you have to really enjoy coffee to get into this. The coffee flavor of Cold Brew Coffee Pumking is pretty smooth, but there’s additional bitterness from the hops that create the sensation of an espresso roast. There’s a lot going on with Cold Brew Pumking outside of the coffee and pumpkin, too—it smells like root beer and tastes like candied nuts. If pumpkin beers become a year-round thing, this is a great place to start.
For more info, check out Southern Tier Brewing Company here.