Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin Stout a refreshing experience

Courtesy of mattfour/Flickr

Fall is once again upon us, which can only mean one thing: break out the pumpkin flavored, well, everything. From the endless cups of pumpkin spice coffee to the sickly sweet aroma of pumpkin pie-scented candles, this versatile squash certainly makes its presence known during the season of vibrant foliage. While many corporate and craft breweries jump on the pumpkin beer bandwagon to bank on a seasonal fad, a truly succulent pumpkin beer is hard to come by. Pumpkin ale is typically the heavy hitter this time of year because of the flavor versatility that ale brewing affords, and because ale is a relatively non-threatening type of beer to pumpkin fans who are just in it for the flavor.

For those pumpkin eaters who like to flirt with the dark side in terms of their beer, the recently released Imperial Pumpkin Stout from the Harpoon Brewery is both a refreshing reprieve from the inordinate amounts of pumpkin ale for sale and a gratifying experience in the versatility of pumpkin flavor.

In my personal experience with imperial stouts, the color trend typically moves in the direction of dark, chocolate browns, but Harpoon’s Imperial Pumpkin pours out perfectly pitch black. The effervescent tan head dissipates quickly, leaving just hints of milky lacing. In terms of aroma, the most striking thing about this beer is the subtlety of the pumpkin scent. Instead of the overpowering smell of pumpkin that is omnipresent in many such seasonal beers, the fragrances of roasted caramel and heavy spice are the most noticeable elements.

The first sip yields an intense rush of flavor.  Dense malts and caramelized sugar blended with notes of dark fruit and cinnamon delight the palette superficially, but are swiftly replaced by an aftertaste reminiscent, not surprisingly, of gingerbread. The thickness of this beer is the most notable facet of the overall composition, and even a small sip gives the impression of swilling a mouthful of molasses. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Stouts as a beer style tend to be on the thicker side as a result of heavier malts, so I had no illusions going into this that I was going to be imbibing a seriously dense beer.

However, the thickness is offset slightly by the carbonation, which leaves an understated tingling on the lips and brings the flavor together smoothly. The lingering tastes of smoke and roasted malt coupled with the palpable tang of alcohol make this beer a dynamic exercise in complex flavor configuration, an attribute I do not grant lightly. I am absurdly picky when it comes to my pumpkin beer, but Harpoon has genuinely impressed me this time around with their unique take on the pumpkin trend.

If you find yourself tiring of the same old six packs of Shipyard Pumpkinhead, but you simply cannot quench your thirst for all that is pumpkin, take a visit to the dark side and give the Imperial Pumpkin Stout a try. Be warned, this is a bold and boozy beer that should not be guzzled simply for the intoxicating effect. The Harpoon Brewery has a legacy of releasing distinctive and delicious beers, but this time they have truly outdone themselves. Competing pumpkin beers beware; Imperial Pumpkin has thrown down the gauntlet.

Emily Brightman can be reached at ebrightman@umass.edu.

 

 

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