Schadenfreude

Parallel 49 Brewing Company

Appearance

This pours a crystal clear, burnt amber color and produces a finger of fizzing white head. This leaves behind a foamy, modest collar and a surprisingly active surface coat.

Aroma

Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger all tingle the nose and seem to blend with a caramel-like  undertone. However, there’s also a very light, leafy hops character to the base as well. It’s a complex aroma that entices the palate but doesn’t discern whether or not to expect a spiced experience or a natural pumpkin flavor to come.

Taste

First and foremost, I’m impressed with the level of pumpkin flavor in this style beer. There seems to be some natural pumpkin ingredient that is supplemented by a steady combination of spices. The bill seems to follow the nose with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and perhaps a tad of vanilla. These sit atop a well-balanced base up front. The base is moderately sweet and biscuity, and provides a bit of a brown sugar taste. As I transition to the back, the spices melt further into the palate and the flavor of the pumpkin and spice grows, eventually overcoming the foundation of the beer. Vanilla seems to be the longest lasting “spice” content. While the front was malt-driven, the back and finish bring forward a more earthy character. It’s a fairly robust and dynamic experience keeps the palate saturated with flavor.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium-bodied beer with mild carbonation. There’s just enough texture produced between the spices and carbonation to keep the palate combed. More noticeable is the wet feeling. This is a really drinkable and satisfying option all around.

Overall

The style is undoubtedly true. A pumpkin beer, but also an oktoberfest contender. It makes for a clean, crisp, and sweet märzen experience while all the while making sure to highlight that pumpkin pie flavor we yearn for. Its a well-balanced, beautifully blended option that delivers enough complexity to satisfy the beer snob, but also a sweet, pumpkin flavor that will surely delight the fall-specific palate. Just as impressive is its drinkability. It’s incredibly smooth going down and yet it leaves the palate lightly massaged and saturated with flavor. I haven’t had the pleasure of indulging in too many of this style, as there’s so many regular ales, but if this is the standard for a pumpkin-oktoberfest fusion, I sure as hell will be looking for similar options in the future. Give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.

4.25