But after I received a package from a dear friend in Alaska, I could no longer put off reviewing at least some of the items I received. There was another beer included that I'll be reviewing soon, but for tonight we'll stay focused on the Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, which may no longer be available as it's a seasonally run beer.
Before I taste I should confess that I'm getting over a seasonal affliction of some sort, so anyone who reads this should be aware that I MAY not be able to fully articulate the flavor profile. But who knows, maybe I will.
Appearance: Black. Even for a porter it's particularly dark, with only a faint orangish hue around the edges of the glass. Head is small thought firm, about 1 finger in height, and a pleasing off-white color. I know for myself it's typical to expect pumpkin flavored things to be orange in color but that's not the case here, nor should it be. Head retention is low, save for a nice foamy ring around the edge of the glass.
Nose: Immediately after pouring the smell of brown sugar and pumpkin spice filled my nostrils, almost like a scented candle. Upon closer inspection there is a distinct presence of hops, though they seem to be the more citrus based ones. The blend of pumpkin and hops is a pleasant one on the nose and even before I taste I can tell this is one of the beers best qualities. Malt presence seems subdued and the lack of roast here is somewhat, though not completely, unusual for a porter. Alcohol is not present here in the nose.
|Probably should have taken this BEFORE drinking some.|
Mouth Feel: A standard porter body, moderate in the mouth but heavy in the stomach. The carbonation is minor but just enough to make the flavors come alive long after the beer itself is swallowed. As I dive deeper into my glass the alcohol does become more noticeable here, though it's not to the point of being intolerable. Absolutely one of the smoothest beers I've tried yet and though my sips are measured, they are all equally enthralling.
Drinkability: Low to medium. For most people (I know of at least one exception) porters in general are not highly drinkable beers. Their rich flavor, heavy bodies, and smoky or roasted nature is often too much for many people to drink a lot of and enjoy. Combined with the rather high 7.0% ABV and this is relegated to at most a 6 pack in one session, and more likely stopping at 3 beers.
Overall a fantastic gift and one that makes me eager to try more Alaskan beer. Additionally my friend sent me some smoked salmon jerky, which pairs very well with this beer for a lovely desert or evening snack. I'd highly recommend this beer not only for those who enjoy pumpkin flavorings but to those who are looking to start drinking darker beers, as this is a great starter and very balanced in every aspect.