We tried Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale up at ye olde Manito this weekend -- more about their mac and cheese later -- and let it be said, this is an excellent beer on tap. (And not bad on bottle either.) Most pumpkin ales are a bit too heavy on the artificial flavor, but Dogfish Head really has nailed the recipe down for their fall seasonal.
The golden amber color has a hue reminiscent of a pumpkin. Granted, many others try to do the same, but the Punkin actually succeeds. Contrasting it is a crisp, white head, about half a finger's worth, with minimal lacing.
Smelling it, and it's like being transported into The Great Pumpkin -- I'm sure you remember Linus in the patch. The smell of pumpkin lies on top, flanked by hints of nutmeg. A bit of maltiness can be found if you really look for it.
Sip, and the flavor is surprisingly mellow, but not in a bad way. The gentle notes of pumpkin plays quite well with a malty backbone, and there's just a sweetness of brown sugar partnering up with nutmeg quite brilliantly.
That the ale is 7% on the ABV scale is a bit surprising. The flavors are nicely mellow, and you'd think this would be a 5% drink, so go easy. The Punkin is rather deceiving in that sense.