Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey loses ninth straight, falls to No. 9 BU 6-3 -

February 5, 2016

UMass hockey can’t heed coach John Micheletto’s warning in 6-3 loss against BU -

February 5, 2016

Jury convicts Patrick Durocher of rape, assault and battery -

February 5, 2016

UMass student dies Friday morning -

February 5, 2016

Puck Talk: UMass prepares for the Terriers -

February 5, 2016

Third and 20: the Super Bowl -

February 5, 2016

UMass women’s basketball set to take on Fordham at Mullins -

February 4, 2016

UMass investigating alleged misuse of campus resources within Physical Plant -

February 4, 2016

Closing arguments delivered as Patrick Durocher trial moves toward resolution -

February 4, 2016

UMass football announces 30 members to its 2016 recruiting class -

February 4, 2016

Dean’s Beans founder speaks at first MassPIRG meeting of semester -

February 4, 2016

UMass revises guest policy for Super Bowl weekend -

February 4, 2016

UMass graduates are ‘attractive to employers’ -

February 4, 2016

IT to host open forum, discuss new acceptable use and confidentiality policies -

February 4, 2016

Herrell’s hosts event to support Whole Children -

February 4, 2016

UMass police chief hiring procedure involves input from across campus -

February 4, 2016

UMass men’s and women’s track and field set to perform this weekend in preparation for the Atlantic 10 championships -

February 4, 2016

Heather MacLean shines in junior season for UMass track and field -

February 4, 2016

UMass hockey squares off with No. 9 Boston University Friday night -

February 4, 2016

UMass women’s basketball blows lead, loses in overtime -

February 4, 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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