By Iron Chef Leftovers
I love pumpkin beers and there are a ton of them out on the market these days. Fall also brings us the annual pumpkin beer festival at Elysian Brewing, who seem to roll out somewhere around a dozen pumpkin beers themselves, with just a few making it into bottles. Hansel & Gretel is one that made it this year into the bottle. From the Elysian press release:
Brewed with organic pale, Weyermann Munich and Cara-Hell malts, with pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. Spiced with fresh ginger and hopped with lots of Czech Saaz hops 4.5% ABV
This beer is unmistakably a pilsner – golden yellow in color with a fizzy white head. Initially you get a good amount of grain on the nose, but as you get closer, there are strong notes of ginger with a pumpkin background. The is initial sip is a strong hit of spicy ginger, like biting into a ginger snap cooking without the sugar, but it is so strong that your taste buds never fully recover from it. The ginger gives way to a distinct pumpkin flavor and it finishes just a bit sweet with a touch of spicy heat from the ginger. Any grain notes are completely overwhelmed by the ginger and there are no discernible hops on the nose or the palate. The spiciness is more pronounced as the beer warms and really overpowers everything else. There aren’t many pumpkin pilsners on the market so this beer has the potential to be a good one with more balance so you get more than a one note beer (and make pumpkin the star, not the ginger), but it is not quite there yet.
This was not my favorite pumpkin beer of the patch; so as a result, Hansel & Gretel skips into the gingerbread house with a score of 2 children out of 5.