One of the coolest things about living in Alaska was all the daylight in the summer…until it wasn’t. See when you first get there and it is bright light out at 2:00 am in the morning it energizes you. Its a rush like you might get from an energy drink. I think it must be all those melanin molecules doing all sorts of wonderful things that give you great amounts of energy and an almost euphoric high. Its cool at first, you have all kinds of energy, you are ultra productive and you feel just great!
But…alas, all good things must end, and in this land of extremes it comes crashing in on you like a moose through a plate glass window. What goes up must come down and you do come down…hard. I never really understood what it was like for babies to get their days and nights mixed up until I moved to Alaska. Pretty soon your body acclimates and you purchase blackout blinds for the windows.
There is, however, this industrious attitude that permeates throughout the summer months that typically manifests itself in people going fishing. But there are a couple of brewers that have taken advantage of the “opportunity” the lights gives to make great beer, and we are all the better for it. I had a beer from Midnight Sun Brewing in Anchorage, Alaska, and it took me back to the bugs and the light…
Believe it or not this is a pumpkin beer. It is Midnight Sun’s T.R.E.A.T. beer. TREAT stands for “The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment.” Eccentric? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely. In regular beer terminology this is a Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. And man does it deliver.
First, the pour is inky black, more stout like than porter. This is undoubtedly from all the chocolate nibs that go into the making of this brew that gives this beer it’s opaque quality. It pours with a thin tan head and the nose is really interesting. It is porter all the way, with a slight hop presence, but you get the chocolate, and the rich maltiness, and…well a little pumpkin pie thrown in for good measure.
My first sip took me back to of all places Missoula, Montana. It was about 5 years ago I was working on a project there and staying at a hotel that had just an amazing restaurant attached to it. Well one night in January they had a desert on the menu that caught my eye. It was a chocolate pumpkin torte that tasted a lot like a piece of chocolate pumpkin pie. This is what this beer reminded me of at first.
The really nice thing here is that this brew is also subtle. It doesn’t get all up in your grill about the fact that it is a pumpkin brew or that it might be a desert beer either. The sweetness is moderated to just the malty body of the porter, and the pumpkin and spices give it a good mouthfeel, while the cocoa nibs tie all the flavors together very nicely to deliver a very quality sipping beer.
This brew is 7.8% ABV so it isn’t over the top, but surprisingly the booziness does make a cameo appearance towards the back side of the flavor profile and gives it a little kick along with a tinge of hoppiness.
Overall this was an excellent beer and one I would highly recommend. It took me back to my long days in Alaska, and made me happy that at least some people up there are doing more with their time than just fishing.