Two months ago I put up an interview I did with Jeff Hancock from DC Brau. In that interview, he did me a huge flavor and released information about an upcoming collaboration with Epic Brewing Co. This was their first venture out into a new realm of brewing, and beer news sites actually really latched on to it. A few hours after making the post, I had been quoted by beernews.org and dcbeer.com. Then, a few days later, I was also referenced by The Washington Posts online post Going out Gurus. Thanks to that post, I managed to have my biggest one day total (91), and my most popular post to date (180 overall).
Last week that collaboration actually came out. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a bottle, and I even contacted Jeff hoping I could buy one off him. But, thankfully, my local beer store in Virginia managed to get in a supply of it. Initially I didn’t know what type of beer they were brewing, but later on, it was revealed that they were releasing an imperial pumpkin porter. I was really interested to give this one a try. I’ve had plenty of pumpkin beers, but I don’t think I’ve ever had this particular combination. Then, reading the DC Brau site, my interests were only peaked more. Here they stated that it is brewed with allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and whole cloves; accompanied by 600 lbs of pure pumpkin puree and 7 lbs of Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. This all combined with a porter base sounded incredible.
The pour is definitely dark for most of the pumpkin beers I had this particular pumpkin beer season. It pours out a dark brown to something that is kind of bordering on black. There is a moderate amount of head that develops on the pour. The head is a nice light shade that does manage to dissipate kind of quickly. The lacing coats the sides of the glass in a delightful sticky residue that manages last for a while. Despite the dark color, you can still see that the beer is slightly hazy in the light, and there is some visible carbonation in the glass as well.
I do initially pull pumpkin out of the smell; however, the pumpkin doesn’t tend to be quite as overwhelming as a lot of other pumpkin ales. Here, you can definitely pull out a lot of the different other elements that were used in the brewing process. Aside from the pumpkin, you can also pull out a lot of the spices that play a major role. In my opinion, I do get a lot of the cinnamon and nutmeg in particular. As the base, I pull out a lot more of the porter quality. There is a little coffee and chocolate that seem to mix at the end of the entire profile. The pumpkin and porter quality form an interesting blend between the gourd and the coffee nature. Pumpkin is not always my favorite flavor in beer, although it has become a more enjoyable flavor this season. Coffee, on the other hand, is one of my favorite flavors in beer. Therefore, I’m hopeful for a fun new taste.
The taste starts off with a lot of the rich malty flavor. This quickly gives way to the combined taste of the pumpkin and spices. Interestingly, the pumpkin is not the star of the show here. It fits nicely into the blend of the rest of the brew. The spices all blend together really well, although I do wish that I could pull out some of the more individual spices that they state they used in the brewing process. As the pumpkin and spices fade out, I start to feel like the coffee and chocolate come in. There is an interesting blend of both the pumpkin and porter flavors that I enjoy. The aftertaste is a strong lingering taste of the porter and pumpkin flavors. Overall, a pleasant aftertaste. I think if the pumpkin and spices had been more powerful there would be no way it would have all worked together.
The mouthfeel is an overall nice blend. The carbonation has a moderate to high quality. I found it interesting that drinking the beer immediately had the carbonation actually intensify some of the spices, but allowing the carbonation to sit and mellow allowed the spices to mellow as well. There is a slight syrupy and boozy quality here as well, but once again, the carbonation helps to keep this quality under control.
I will have to admit that I was really looking forward to this particular beer. Thanks to the amazing guys at DC Brau, they really upped my readership. So, this kind of felt a lot like a product that had some special meaning to me. In the end, I’m still really happy with the product. These two breweries took a style of brew that is really popular this time of year and managed to put their own spin on it. Although I have a feeling this won’t be for everyone, I think they did a great job of managing to keep all of the flavors in line so they taste good together. If one flavor had been too dominant, I’m not sure it would have been quite as enjoyable. Now I have to increase my knowledge of the other beers produced by Epic.
Teacher Grade: A