The ‘Dessert Factor’

a2007 FINAL hoppe 22oz bottle

One of the greatest aspects of social media is the ability to hear from readers and get responses to what we are drinking. This Octoberfest we found ourselves grabbing a few with some good friends when we stumbled upon Southern Tier’s Pumking.

A quick Facebook post immediately brought forth responses touting the extraordinary flavor of the Pumking brew. Southern Tier’s website clearly states that the brew is the meeting of the time of the year, when “spirits can make contact with the physical world, and magic is most potent.”

brewhouse 2013“The big thing that differentiates Pumking from all the other pumpkin beers out there is the way we went about designing it,” said Dustin Hazer, the head brewer at Southern Tier. “There are so many great pumpkin beers out there it’s hard to get yourself to stick out amongst all of them, because there are a lot of good ones out there.”


What Southern Tier noticed was that nobody else was attempting the “dessert factor” with pumpkin brews. “You see a lot of these pumpkin beers and it’s a nice subtle characteristic of the pumpkin and maybe a little hint of spice here and there, but we kind of wanted to go at that pumpkin pie, dessert aspect of it,” explained Hazer. “I think we were able to be relatively successful at it.”

southern tier brewing companyThe 138 comments from Facebook being shown on Southern Tier’s Pumking Beer Page simply reinforces the overall thoughts from consumers as they taste the liquid dessert. Some posts discuss how it stacks up to other pumpkin beers out this season, but others are talking about their cooking opportunities with the beer, utilizing the multitude of spice instilled in the beer.

“Making an imperial beer that’s around 9 percent, it has a nice kind of cocktail characteristic to it,” said Hazer. The high ABV, which says is actually at 8.6 percent on the website, has become a staple by the Lakewood, N.Y. brewery. “We get hit for being the pumpkin brewery a lot, the hops brewery a lot and the high alcohol content brewery, but I think the fact that people think we are pigeonholed as different things, really shows how diverse we really are. Right down to our new Live that’s out, being 5 percent, but being really nice and hoppy but nice and mild too. I don’t necessarily think we are one thing or another as much as people think.”

Regardless of what consumers may think about the direction of Southern Tier, one thing is clear — that people really love the taste of its beers, especially the Pumking. “We are always very critical of ourselves, trying to make sure we get something right,” said Hazer. “When we saw the response of people, once they had [Pumking], it was definitely gratifying and it was good to see and hear all the positive things people had to say about the Pumking.”



STYLE: Imperial Pumpkin Ale


ABV: 8.6%

FERMENTATION: Ale yeast, two types of malt, two types of hops, pumpkin

COLOR: Deep copper

EFFERVESCENCE: Medium carbonation

NOSE: Pumpkin, pie spices, buttery crust, vanilla, roasted pecans

FLAVOR: Malty sweetness, vanilla, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pie crust


BODY: Medium-light


GLASS: Goblet

AVAILABILITY: Autumn seasonal, August release / 22oz / 1/6 keg


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