Diamond Knot Brewery, our featured brewery of the month, started the party tonight. The place is hopping, lots of people here to celebrate good food and great beer in honor of Diamond Knot’s 15th Anniversary. Two special kegs were tapped tonight: Diamond Knot 08 Pumpkin Ale and the 07 Ho! Ho!
The 08 Pumpkin Ale is surprisingly bitter. Many pumpkin ales think they are a pie, not a beer. The Diamond Knot Pumpkin Ale KNOWS it is a beer. It has a lot of spice, but the hops always predominate. It is a rich, opaque, autumn amber color. That malty sweetness that I associate with most pumpkin beers is very restrained here. This is a pumpkin ale for the hop lovers. It has a lot of nutmeg and clove and very little ginger and sugar flavors in this pumpkin brew, but always the hops predominate. It was crafted with 100 lb of roasted sugar pie pumpkin in a 7 barrel batch. roasted with pumpkin spice and blended into their Vienna lager recipe.
The 07 Ho! Ho! has a big bite for an aged winter ale. It starts out malty smooth and then HELLO hops. It is a deep caramel color that looks like it might be a malt monster but looks deceive. If Diamond Knot beers have a central mission, I would guess that it is to celebrate the hops. Even with the roasted toasted nuances and caramel undertones, the hops predominate from mid-palate through the long finish. I really like how the hops balanced the caramel and kept it from ever getting too sweet or cloying like some winter ales.
After a long day of beer drinking, I really needed some food. Since we did the stone grill last week, I decided to try one of their pizzas this week.
BBQ Chicken Pizza: apricot porter BBQ sauce diced chicken mushrooms, onions, mozarella fresh cilantro, all on a thin or thick crust. The sweetness of the BBQ sauce worked with the vintage 2007 Ho! Ho! The spices were complementary in the Pumpkin Ale but the sweetness of the BBQ sauce really punched up the hops bitterness. It was a bit too much for my palate but if you want a hop hit, that combo will do it.