The Thirsty Beagle: Review: 2016 Elk Valley Pumpion

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review: 2016 Elk Valley Pumpion

Elk Valley's 2016 Pumpion is set to drop from the brewery tomorrow afternoon, and if you already have plans for 3 p.m., you may want to adjust your schedule.

I had the chance to try this year's vintage tonight, and it scores high marks for me.

First, some details: Elk Valley is holding a special release event with a food truck from 3 to 8 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 6) at the brewery, 520 N Meridian Ave.

They will make available 45 cases of the beer at the brewery. They're setting a one-case-per-person limit, while reserving the right to adjust the limit depending on what kind of line might form prior to 3 p.m.

Another 80 cases will ship out on Friday to liquor stores in Oklahoma and Arkansas. In addition, a pair of kegs will be on tap at the brewery. Six other kegs will find their way to Oklahoma bars -- likely two to Tulsa and four to Oklahoma City. So you get the idea -- not a lot of this beer will be available.

OK, so what about the beer?

I thoroughly enjoyed it -- actually still enjoying the last couple sips as I type. Here's my review:

-Aroma: I found it to be boozy, alcoholy (is that a word? It is now), sweet and delivering a roasty caramel undertone.

-Appearance: It's got a wonderfully rich, brown copper color. Very little to no head retention.

-Mouthfeel: Maybe this sounds kind of weird, but I expected the beer to have a thin mouthfeel. However, it absolutely did not. In contrast, I thought it had a sort of creamy mouthfeel that coated your tongue and lingered nicely. There is very little carbonation in this beer.

-Taste: Bourbon, bourbon and bourbon. It had very subtle notes of oak and spices, just a touch of alcohol heat, and hints of sweetness, raisin and nutmeg. As it warms, the sweetness comes out a little more.

-Overall: This is an exceptionally smooth, tasty and warming drink. It was easy to drink for a 12.4% ABV beer. The pumpkin and spices are very subtly present -- they're definitely not the star of the beer. The star is the bourbon.

And no wonder -- the beer was aged for one full year on oak bourbon barrels. In fact, that aging -- in my estimation -- makes this a superior beer to the 2015 vintage. To me, the 2015 version drank hot, maybe even a touch abrasive.

The 2016 Pumpion has had time to smooth out and fully develop its roundness. Elk Valley brewmaster John Elkins told me that he is very pleased with this year's beer. He intentionally dialed down the spices compared to 2015 and sought to make this beer as smooth as possible.

I would say he hit the mark.

Oh, and a bonus: How about Mrs. Beagle's review?

"Tastes like fall deliciousness. Pairs well with a campfire. Shut your mouth."

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