during each of the past two pumpktoberfests, southern tier's pumking, an imperial ale brewed with pumpkins, has made its way into the rotation (2009 & 2010), becoming what i'd consider my favorite out of all the pumpkin beers i've tried. if you haven't tried it yet, i seriously don't know what you're waiting for. since i'm all in love with it & shizz, this year i reached out to the folks at the lakewood, NY brewery to ask them a few questions about the pumking & horror films. nathan arnone, southern tier's "communications liaison," was kind enough to respond.
eat!drink!snack!: why did southern tier decide to start brewing the pumking?
nathan: we saw an interesting segment in the market, something that we hadn't had in our lineup, and thought we ought to try it. there were a few other pumpkin beers but not many imperial pumpkin ales and not many (or any?) in 22oz bottles. phin (one of the founders of southern tier) had a great recipe in mind, and when we began brewing it we were pretty sure we had a sleeper hit on our hands.
E: what makes the pumking unique amongst pumpkin beers?
N: it's one of the few imperial pumpkin ales & at 8.6% ABV it's pretty strong. but the thing about our pumking that really sets it apart is the balance of flavors. plus, the nose is strong with spices and you can almost make out a faint pie crust scent. it's quite an interesting beer.
E: where (around the country) can people buy the pumking? for how long?
N: we brewed over 4000BBL of pumking this year, by far the most we've produced since it began in 2007. we ship it to all of our distributors in the 28 states that we currently distribute to. how long it will be on store shelves is a question i can't answer. it's really up to the retailers to get the bottles and kegs out for the consumers and to let them know about it. we know some areas sell out very quickly, while in other areas people may find bottles available into november.
E: other than the pumking, do you have a favorite pumpkin beer?
N: i personally do not have a favorite pumpkin beer, but i have had ichabod by new holland and it's pretty tasty.
E: what's your (or southern tier's) favorite horror film and why?
N: i'm subject to uncontrollable nightmares, so horror films are not in my netflix queue very often. having said that, one of the first horror films i saw was sam raimi's the evil dead. a friend of mine had a bootleg copy of it on VHS. we watched it a few times. there was a crappy, old, run-down theater in jamestown that would play films on sunday nights. i went to see the first friday the 13th there, probably 1986 or 87, and didn't sleep well for a few nights. some of the old classics are great, house on haunted hill, for instance. the way they used suspense still holds up, even 50 or 60 years later.