The gods of Halloween, whatever they may be, have delivered a bounty unto me this year in the form of pumpkin beers. Not only did the legendary Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing finally show up on Arizona’s dusty shores for the first time, but it brought a friend – Warlock, the pumpkin stout.
My friends, heed my words: If you’ve any interest whatsoever in pumpkin beer, stout beers, or just beer in general, you must try Warlock immediately. It is so good I could barely comprehend what I was tasting. This beer gave me an existential crisis.
Imagine if tomorrow, you had a cup of coffee that was unmistakably the best cup of coffee you’ve had in your life (assuming that you are a routine coffee drinker). Imagine if something you’ve tasted far too many times to count and always existed as a constant in your life suddenly took on a new dimension. That’s how I felt when I tried Warlock.
I’ll grant that I have a personal affinity for stouts, to say nothing of pumpkin beer itself. So this review might need to be taken with a grain of salt for those who aren’t crazy about stout beers. This is the first and only pumpkin stout I’ve ever had as well, so the weight of expectation was playing into the experience.
See my review of Pumking for the major beats of the flavor – high levels of pumpkin, vanilla, and nutmeg along with the expected “beer” flavors you get with bolder brews, and then add layers of smoke and chocolate. The best way I can describe the taste of Warlock is pumpkin bread or a pumpkin muffin covered in chocolate. The pumpkin pie spice notes float up through the nostrils and linger on the palette long after you’ve swallowed.
My only regret about having had Southern Tier Warlock is that my entire review scale for pumpkin beer needs to shift. Compared to this everything else loses a step. But, I’m not changing my review scale. Instead, I’ve invented a ranking above 5 Jacks just for this one beer: 5 Golden Jacks. To be awarded only to one beer at a time – the king of the hill. Or, you know, pumpkin patch.