Over Labor Day Weekend. Adam and I am were fortunate enough to drop in on one of our favorite spots, Bert's Better Beers in Hookset NH, to stock up for the weekend. Ever since our first trip to Bert's back in March, we have come to rely on Bert's awesome selection and taste in brews.
Now I am a bit of a pumpkin beer aficionado. My favorite beers are typically released in the fall and winter. I love spice, warmth and hints of pumpkin. Shipyard's Pumpkinhead is one of my perennial favorites so I was intrigued to see their Smashed Pumpkin for the first time. The latest in Shipyard's Pugsley's Signature Series, Smashed Pumpkin is offered in a 22 oz bottle, with a very respectable 9% ABV, I knew I had to try it. Adding even more intrigue, Bert recommended pairing it in a glass with Shipyard's Bluefin Stout - referred to as a Smashed Stout. The richness of the stout is said to cut the pumpkin-ness of the Smashed Pumpkin and create almost a taste of pie crust in your mouth.
First, we tried each beer on it's own. The Smashed Pumpkin was a pumpkin explosion in my mouth, definitely more in your face than Shipyard's other pumpkin offering, Pumpkinhead. The 9% ABV doesn't hurt matters either. I would consider this a manly pumpkin beer.
The Bluefin Stout is smooth and comforting (as most stouts are to me). Hints of dark chocolate and coffee round out the taste and had me immediately thinking Bert was onto something with his pairing recommendation.
Next step? Mix 'em up!
I filled each glass about halfway with the Smashed Pumpkin, then carefully layered the stout on top, using a spoon so as not to pour too quickly.
The result was exactly as Bert had prescribed! The richness of the stout cut the sweetness of the pumpkin and did create a toasty pie crust effect with enough of the fruitiness in there to actually taste like a delicious spicy pumpkin pie in a glass, not too sweet, and with a little bite. This is an ideal pairing for a cold September evening! We would definitely recommend picking up a few bottles of each the next time you are heading out to a party this season and mixing up some Pumpkin Pie in a glass for your friends. We will definitely be adding this to our fall beer rotation!