Punkless Dunkel

Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company

Appearance

This pours an orange-red color and has a very light haze to its body. It produces just shy of a finger of head, which eventually dissipates to a thin collar. There’s minor activity at its surface thanks to the moderate amount of carbonation.

Aroma

The aroma is mostly spice-driven. Clove, nutmeg, and light amounts of ginger seem to be present, but most noticeable is a bit of funk – a sour-like aspect. Beneath the spices seem to be sugary malt notes. The smell of pumpkin seems mostly derived from spice rather than actual pumpkin.

Taste

What the nose lacks, the taste makes up for. This is certainly a more dynamic experience than I anticipated. First off it’s marketed as a wheat beer, and that is proven true quite quickly in its foundation. It’s malty, as expected from a dunkel, and sweet throughout its base in the front half. The base sets the stage while the rest of the beer takes its time gradually highlighting ingredients. The spices slowly make way to the palate and follow the nose for the most part. There seems to be clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice all present, with the clove riffing off the wheat backdrop especially nicely. Then there’s a natural pumpkin facet that blends into the spices. It’s accentuated by both them and the sugary foundation. It’s quite pleasant. The back tends to further highlight the wheat and dunkel styling to the experience, resulting in a more balanced hops and malt relationship. The finish continues on this track, and is a bit less enjoyable in my opinion. The aftertaste is even more earthy and herbal. While I started with a sweet pumpkin pie flavor, I ended with a substantial dunkelweizen taste.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium-bodied beer with moderate carbonation. It has a light, and slightly creamy texture that combs the palate nicely and adds heft to a historically lager-like feel. It’s higher ABV also provides a thing blanket of warmth on the palate throughout the experience. It feels quite nice all around.

Overall

This was quite the ride. It’s a sophisticated take on pumpkin ale and provides a dynamic, rollercoaster experience that moves from the liquid pumpkin pie  to a strong herbal option. Its taste is undoubtedly attractive and interesting, but it also provides an ambitious mix in flavor that might not appeal to everyone. Though one might argue the nose, taste, and feel tend to be discombobulated as an entire experience, I’d consider it an adventurous, more unique experience that has grown on me after a few takes. Every aspect of it is solid and engaging, and in the end it does provide a mild, albeit not so common take on a pumpkin option. I’d certainly recommend it, particularly if you want something different that can also provide a disguised increase in alcohol.

3.5