Crown Valley Brewing - Imperial Pumpkin Smash
- ABV: 10.6%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 48
- Serving Temperature: 50-55º F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip
- Malts: Pilsner, Goldpils, Chocolate, Flaked & Roasted Barley
- Hops: Chinook, Magnum, Saaz
An imperial pumpkin stout? We were intrigued from the get-go with this beer, and still are. This very un-shy brew pours super dark, topped with rich, brown foam. Before one even gets to that point, though, the spice aromas will have already been emanating from the bottle. Pumpkin pie and gingerbread are front and center, but underneath the spices are the hallmarks of a very nice stout, including notes of chocolate, rich caramel, toffee, a bit of brown bread, and a hint of vanilla. Look for the aromas to all come through in the flavor too, although roasty notes appear a bit more forward on the palate than the nose, and some alcohol comes forth to play off of the spices. There’s an impression of nougat doused in spiced rum, with subtle flashes of concentrated dark fruits. The hop trio that Crown Valley chose was a smart call, as the spicy mixture augments the traditional pumpkin ale spices while adding an herbal, earthy quality to complement the roasty stout notes. Honestly, we’d forgo pairing with food and just enjoy this one on its own. Additionally, at 10.6% ABV this is a beer you should be able to cellar for an extended period, if you’re inclined to watch how it ages over a couple years or more. Enjoy!
The story of Crown Valley Brewing begins in 1984 when Joe Scott, Sr., who had spent many a happy summer on his grandfather’s farm in Coffman, MO, returned to the area and started his own ranch. In 1998 he planted his first grape vines (an uncommon white hybrid varietal known as Chardonel, popular in Missouri vineyards) and two years later Crown Valley Winery was born. Fast forward to the present day and the Crown Valley property has grown and branched out into a multi-faceted business and an entertaining destination, replete with vineyards supplying grapes for both red and white wines, our featured brewery/distillery and attached pub and grill (just a couple miles down the road from the winery), a banquet hall suitable for weddings and parties, and a meat company which, among other things, produces tasty jerky from their herd of bison which roams among the grape vines. Oh, and for good measure, there’s also the Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, home to several rescued big cats.
While they had been brewing beer for a while beforehand, the Crown Valley Brewery opened to the public in May 2009. The brewery is headed up by brewmaster and Missouri native, Jeremy Gilbert. Jeremy started home-brewing while in college, and kept it up after graduating. In 2008 he took the plunge, quitting his sales career to start up a small brewery with the help of a friend. Serious about his craft, he attended the world-famous Siebel Institute brewing school in Chicago from 2010-2011. In 2012, Jeremy sold his share of his brewery to take over as brewmaster at Crown Valley, where he embraces creative and bold beer styles. In fact, with over a dozen year-round and seasonal beers and ciders (as well as Fizzy Izzy Root Beer – named after one of the tigers at the sanctuary), Crown Valley is producing an impressively wide array of styles. Their sister business, Crown Valley Distilling, produces the 100 proof, gold medal winning (at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition), Missouri Moonshine.
For more info on Crown Valley Brewery, visit them at www.crownvalleybrewery.com or call (573) 756-9700. For info about the winery, distillery, and other associated attractions, visit www.crowncountry.com.
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