I’D TAP THAT: Ballast Point Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Down is a perfect blend of East and West Coast styles
Glassware: The roasted malts of a good Scotch Ale combined with the aromatics of a Pumpkin Ale make for a wonderful bouquet of aromas that must be savored. A snifter, nonic pint, or Willi Becher pub glass are your top choices for Pumpkin Down.
Description: Pumpkin Down pours a deep amber orange hue with frothy off-white head that leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is pumpkin spice forward with a wonderful caramel malt and earthy hop backing. The spices hit the palate up front making a statement that this is a pumpkin ale with cinnamon and nutmeg leading the way, the sweet caramel malts rush in before earthy hops round everything out with a long semi-dry finish. The moderate carbonation and medium full body give this beer an incredibly smooth mouthfeel perfect for fall evenings. While this time of year there is an endless array of pumpkin beers available. Pumpkin Down is definitely a must try for those who like smooth and easy drinking.
Food pairing: The spicing and heavy malt profile make Pumpkin Down perfect for pairing with hearty fall favorites. Try pairing with a warm beef stew, the thicker the better, and be sure to include fall vegetables for an added bonus. The malts melt perfectly into the base of the stew while the spicing and earthy hops elevate the vegetables to enliven the dish. Pumpkin Down goes well with butternut squash and sage ravioli, the natural matching of the two squashes is apparent and the spices will pair perfectly with the sage for a truly wonderful fall evening dinner. If you are looking for a contrasting flavor pairing try this with jalapeno cornbread, the spicy pepper will gravitate toward the heavy malt backbone allowing the cornbread to shine through and pair with the pumpkin spices.
The Final Word: Ballast Point is one of the top craft breweries in the United States and a definite leader in the San Diego beer scene. That being said, West Coast breweries, specifically ones in southern California are not typically thought of when it comes to pumpkin beers. Ballast Point made a bold statement with this beer. The use of the malt forward Scotch Ale as a base with the spice driven Pumpkin Ale create a beer that is a match made in New England. The wonderful spice notes melt into the solid malt backbone to create a pumpkin beer that stands on its own, no matter where it was brewed. Many think of world class IPAs when it comes to Ballast Point and the brewery has a great offering. It’s low on the hopping, but still very high on the flavor!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer: Pumpkin Down
Style: Pumpkin Ale