Beer ‘n’ Cheese Pairing #3: Pumpkin before it’s too late

So, it has been a while since I’ve done a good old-fashioned beer and cheese pairing so I figured I’d give some interesting pumpkin beer pairings before all the pumpkin beer is gone.  I am sitting here drinking the first Samuel Adams Winter Lager of the season and eating apple cider candy corn.  The seasons are strange.  I decided to pull random pumpkin beers together for all of you because everyone has heard of the Dogfish Punk’n, Weyerbacher etc. but they are all pie flavored beers which don’t usually pair with many cheeses.  But what about the non-pie beers?  What can you find and do with those?  So, I made it my mission to find as many random pumpkin beers as possible, enjoy!

Beer #1: Timmerman’s Pumpkin Lambicus

Weird in a good way

Timmerman’s is one of the oldest Gueuze Lambic breweries in the world dating back to 1702.  The style involves the careful blending of different lambic beer batches from different years to achieve the desired flavor.  The beers are left in open air to allow natural yeasts in the air to spontaneously ferment the beer, then the beers go under a second fermentation which is the point that some have cherries added to become krieks or raspberries to make framboise.  This one uses pumpkin during the second fermentation.

The beer has a light oak sour nose, rich golden color, tart and very ephervesant.  The beer is easy drinkable with a slight fleshy pumpkin flavor enhanced by the breadiness of the malt and a slight cinnamon finish.

Cheese #1: Emmi Grueyere Special Reserve:  The maltiness overtakes the sweetness of the beer and masks the flavors of the cheese.  The cheese has a tough parmesan texture that is kinda dry and doesn’t work too well with the beer.

Cheese #2: Unekaas Meadowkaas Gouda:  The cheese just melts in your mouth and brings out the cinnamon and pumpkin but still maintains too much firmness to really mix with the beer.

Cheese #3: Beehive Ipanema: The cheese is like the Barely Buzzed but with cocoa on the outside.  It’s only available in Whole Foods for the month of October and its fantastic.  Its firm but still creamy enough to mix well and has a nice roasted flavor with the cocoa.  Its coffee, its chocolate, its delicious.  Problem.  I chose the wrong pairing group of beers but I couldn’t help myself.  The cheese didn’t work with this type of beer but I just can’t stop eating it.

Beer #2: Chatoe Rogue First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale

This was more standard but I love Rogue and was too excited to get my hands on their first pumpkin ale.  The beer distinguishes itself because Rogue makes everything for the beer.  They just started growing their own pumpkins and pride themselves on being self-sustaining.  This beer isn’t like most of the other pumpkin beers because it comes out later in the season because they need to wait for the harvest instead of using puree.  It’s up to you if you want to let this distinction mean something to you, but I think it’s cool.  The beer pours a deep blood red color with a robust pillow like head.  The beer has an unmistakable aroma of roasted pumpkin and tastes of pumpkin and a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg.  These flavors may say “pie” but this beer has a strong spice note that doesn’t blend as well as I would have expected.

Cheese #1:  The cheese does a good job bringing out the roasted pumpkin with the saltiness of the cheese but the saltiness doesn’t mix with the nutmeg.  The beer needed a cheese that was similar to it in flavor.

Cheese #2: This cheese enhances the cinnamon and nutmeg but unfortunately didn’t do a good job mixing with the pumpkin.

Cheese #3: I really liked this combination.  The beer makes the cheese very creamy and the crust brings coffee and chocolate flavors to the party.  These flavors mix with the spices and really remind me of a pumpkin latte.

Beer #3: Elysian Hansel and Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner.

Hmm this one really had me interested because Elysian makes so many different pumpkin beers.

Quite the lineup

I had 5 options here but happened to pick the one that really didn’t do anything to the cheese.  The beer has a rich golden color like any other pilsner and a nice white head to match.  The beer smells of Czech hops and a LOT of ginger.  I could smell some slight pumpkin aroma but not much to really make me think that it was anything balanced.  The beer tastes of pure ginger spiced with hops and doesn’t have any pumpkin flavor that I would attribute to it.  The beer didn’t really work with the cheese and the ginger was too cloying to really drink.  I will say I enjoyed all the other four pumpkin beers in this picture but this one really didn’t do it for me.
Anyway I hope you all can get your hands on some pumpkin beer before it is all gone.


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