January 02, 2015

This fall, we were tipped off by some of our favorite beer lovers that 21 Amendment Brewery and Elysian Brewing produced a pumpkin centered four-pack that was utterly unique in flavor and design. They weren't kidding.

The story of He Said, He Said began with Shaun O' Sullivan, 21 Amendment's brewmaster and Dick Cantwell, co-founder of Elysian Brewing. In a conversation turned mission to create an unexpected pumpkin beer, the two were at odds.

Cantwell: "After some cajolery, I said we should brew a pumpkin beer like no other. A Baltic Porter with caraway and cinnamon in a light colored can. Courage!"

O'Sullivan: "I said we should brew a pumpkin beer like no other. A Belgian Tripel with spices in a dark colored can. That's as big time as it gets."

So now we have it. He said one thing; he said another.

Baltic vs. Belgian. Dark vs. light. They teamed up to brew two brews as distinct as the brewers themselves. Lucky for us, the beers taste just as great as the collaboration itself.

 

He Said. [Baltic-style porter. A lager brewed with pumpkin and spices. 8.2% ABV]

Brewed with spices like Vietnamese Cinnamon and caraway seed, this porter smells like roasted barley and imparts a savory toasted grain flavor. It's not too complex but very focused. With a hint of pumpkin, the beer is thick, almost creamy and finishes with a slight tang at the end. For a beer that isn't super heavy, we love this as a stellar sipping beer.

 

He Said. [Belgian-style Tripel. An ale brewed with pumpkin and spices. 8.2% ABV]

The darker can and spiced-pumpkin scent is deceiving, because the beer isn't quite as thick or heavy as the other. It almost smells like sour beer with grassy, licorice-y notes that finish slightly bitter. Brewed with spices like galangal and tarragon, it's rich with flavor and surprising to the palette.

 

***Both of these flavors made us re-think what a pumpkin beer should taste and feel like. While we tend to think (and expect) them to be on the sweeter side, veering toward pumpkin pie spice or pumpkin bread, He Said He Said makes us think of pumpkins in a savory way: Think roasted pumpkins, ready to be eaten with a touch of spice or tossed into soups and pastas. It's a serious look at pumpkin, in an unorthodox way.

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