My lust for autumnal brews is absolutely insatiable, transforming me into an ethanol Donkey Kong. Stay out of my way, other beers, or you’re liable to get a barrel thrown off your fucking neck! I’m serious, man! Watch out! The spell has been cast, and only orange-labeled harvest-intoxicants will lubricate my arid braincells properly!
Enjoying a recess from His reaping, the mighty Saturn gazes down into the terrestrial realm. Humans and their dominions, ants and their hills. It’s rustic but aspiring, unrealized but bursting with potential. The brisk breeze cools Saturn’s glistening brow and he smiles upon us in gratitude, for we raise our glasses in his honor. He raises his chalice, teeming with the syrups and elixirs and sweet ambrosial dreams, and reciprocates.
Gods and Men, united in spirits.
Hoping to engage in my own seasonal celebration, tonight I’m drinking Punk’n from Utah’s Uinta Brewing Company. Historically, I’ve been pretty skeptical of anything even remotely associated with Utah. Even if it looks like Superman. But I decided to push for personal progress, making an exception to my general aversion to the Beehive State and bringing home a sixer of this “harvest pumpkin ale.”
Hell, it’s what the Good Lord Saturn would want.
Since I’d never even heard of Uinta prior to today’s trip to the liquor store, I decided that it’d be wise to do some cursory research before tossing back a few of these squash-sodas. What I found out is that Punk’n is (apparently) a member of Four+, Uinta’s beer collection that prides itself in containing only awesome (natural?) ingredients. In their words,
The Four: Our beers are brewed with four primary ingredients: hops, water, yeast, and barley. Only the highest quality ingredients make the final four. The Plus: The magical combination of elements to create an exceptional beer requires the alchemy of the brewer’s art: skills, palate, and creativity. This is a key component of the “plus”, but not all of it. There’s always an element that defies defintion. We keep it simple (elemental, if you will) and playful (elementary, at times).
Hops. Yeast. Water. Barley. Magical combination of elements. Alchemy.
If Uinta is serious about this shit, I have to say that they’re fairly pretentious. On the other hand, if the above description is tongue-in-cheek, I’d say that it’s worthy of a full-on Mr. Show performance. In either case, all of those kooky words make me smile, and consequently, the prospect of dranking their brand of hooch is even more alluring.
I poured my introductory bottle of Punk’n into a standard pint glass, so as to conduct the appropriate pre-drinking examinations. First, I engage in an ocular assessment. The ale pours as a very clean-lookin’ translucent orange, with just enough of a head to leave a thin ring around the edge of the glass. I then took a whiff, detecting a light air of spices and roasted wonder. Although there’s not much in terms of scent, but what’s there is heavenly.
With all of the auxiliary tests out of the way, I was ready to start Punk’n around. This ale greets the tongue gently, cozying up with an approachable sweetness. After a few more sips, I was able to assess the different gustatorial senses working in tandem. While its first wave reminded me of molasses, the ale quickly revealed that it packs a hearty breadiness. However, after these notes dissipate, the pumpkin-sensations and baking-spices rise to the forefront. With some of my gulps, cinnamon seemed to be the prominent flavor, but with others I seemed to fixate once again on the sweetness.
Long story short, Punk’n tastes like liquid pumpkin bread. It’s not quite in the zone of pumpkin-pie, but it definitely reminds me of a baked good. Which, in my humble, fatigued, and slightly buzzed opinion, is wonderful.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that this seasonal has a very light body to it. If you’re looking to sit down with one or two heavy drinks, Punk’n might not be for you. But if you want to keep tossing back cold ones without worrying about filling up, this is a safe bet. So if you’re a fan of Bud Light and want to try your first pumpkin-potable, or if you want something to quench your thirst during a day of apple picking, I’d say snag yourself some of these brews.
Punk’n isn’t the best seasonal beer I’ve ever had, nor is it the best pumpkin-ale I’ve ever had. But it’s a damn fine brew that could very well usher lite-beer drinkers towards the promised land of craft beers. As such, it deserves commendations.
Toss back a Punk’n, pray to Saturn, and bask in the glory that is autumn.
The verdict: B