Holiday Ales in PA

As the crisp air of autumn begins to fall upon Pennsylvania, the mind wanders to beers of the season. 

On Friday, and again today, D and I made it to Selin’s Grove Brewing Company for the annual tasting of Pumpkin Ale.  The ’07 version was made in a bigger batch than any previous, so the spices came out a bit differently – much stronger than ’06 – but certainly not in a bad way.  Cinnamon is the primary essence that comes through on the nose.  A nitrogen pour gives this ale a creamy head, and a smooth mouthfeel.  It’s reminiscent of the creaminess of pumpkin pie (or the whipped cream on top!)  It has a beautiful dark copper hue and is a real treat for the season.

Now, just because the batch was bigger, don’t think you can delay your visit!  When we arrived today with a table of 8, Derek got the first pour and Ellen got a half…it looked as if the rest of us might be out of luck.  But Steve came through and put on another within minutes.  That’s three kegs of it kicked already, and they are dissuading people from filling growlers (because of the nitro), so this is going fast by the pint.

The Hop Nouveau was still on as of today, and there are many things to look forward to: Saint Fillin’s Scotch Ale in November, and in December, Kriek and Old Frosty IPA (the only thing better than the regular IPA!)

Back at home tonight, we gathered at Scott’s house to brew the second of our two Christmas ales (the first – made with cinnamon, fresh ginger and orange zest – was brewed on a camping trip at Watkin’s Glen; this second one is made with star anise and honey.)  As we brewed, he popped the cap on one of our ’07 pumpkin ales.  Scott and I agreed our ’06 was a really good pumpkin ale (sort of a pumpkin IPA.)  Our ‘o7 has a wonderful aroma.  It’s still a little young; it’s thick and has a biting tingle right now, but with a little mellowing from age, it should be good.

Also worth mentioning…  Troeg’s released Mad Elf in 12-oz bottles last Monday and will release it in jeraboams before the end of the month.  Otto’s is serving Five Year Ale – a sweet and spicy ale that comes in around 10.5% – and, on cask, the deliciously smooth and light Arthur’s Amarillo Pale Ale (not holiday related, but worth mentioning since I’ve had about 5 glasses of it this week!)


2 responses

  1. You might think the nitrogen isn’t a great addition, but trust me, it works well with this particular beer. The nitrogen (as opposed to using CO2 like all the other Pumpkin Ales we’ve been finding in the area / in bottles) keeps the carbonation light and the mouthfeel is creamy. Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip topping is a Pennsylvania favorite, and that’s what it reminds me of – pumpkin pie beer (it’s got GREAT pumpkin flavor!)Selin’s Grove has two beer engines – I’m not sure what would happen with this one if he put it on there…
    I’d love to hear where I can get a Pumpkin Ale on cask. I’m guessing places like Schlafly or Magnolia might, but I my travels won’t take me those places anytime soon.

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