Bravo & Punkuccino

I know all of you beer aficionados anxiously await my beer reviews.  What’s not to love about them, huh?  You get my recommendations, which are worth their weight in gold (ok, so my recommendations have no physical weight – they’re still priceless).  Anyway, here are two more reviews for your consumption. Please read responsibly!

Bravo: Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, CA.  13.2% ABV.
This is Firestone Walker’s bourbon barrel aged Imperial Brown Ale.  It’s unclear to me if it’s an annual release, with very limited availability (see below).

Bravo pours a deep hazy brown with a very slight, light beige head that rapidly fades.  The aroma is sweet, vanilla and bourbon.  The flavor features grainy bitterness, vanilla, and coconut, and then fades to a sweet vanilla, which lingers forever.  The bourbon is well represented in the flavor and aroma of this beer.  As Bravo warms, a nice mild chocolate flavor emerges mid-palate.

This is a heavy bodied beer with a thick, smooth mouth feel.  The carbonation level is medium-light, offering just enough fizz to keep it from being syrupy.

Bravo is all about the bourbon barrel – it’s front and center.  I have to describe this beer as EXCELLENT!  Bravo was released in early 2017, and I bought a bottle at Total Wine in February 2017.  I have tried to find Bravo since I drank the one bottle, but have had no success.  I’m not sure, but this may have been a one time release and unavailable now and in the future.  That’s too bad, because I definitely want more.

Punkuccino: Elysian Brewing, Seattle, WA.  6.0% ABV.
I’m not a pumpkin beer lover, but I try to get a couple of different ones each fall in the spirit of harvest celebration and American beer crafting.  Punkuccino is a Coffee Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing, one of Seattle’s premier breweries.  I bought Punkuccino this week at Total Wine ($8.99 for a 22 oz. bomber), thinking I might possibly like it because it has coffee in addition to pumpkin.

Punkuccino pours clear, dark ruby red (you’ll see the red if you hold the glass up to the light) with a light tan ¼” head that faded after about two minutes.  A very thin ring around the perimeter and slight surface foam remained through most of the session.  It smells like sweet coffee with a dash of pumpkin.

The flavor is sweet pumpkin and spice. Coffee is not noted until the pumpkin pie fades to the aftertaste, which is mostly sweet coffee.  So, how do I describe the flavor?  It’s pumpkin and spice (cinnamon and nutmeg, like pumpkin pie), then it becomes a bit stronger mid-palate, and then the pumpkin fades to sweet coffee, which is very pleasant.

The carbonation is fairly light, as is the body – it’s a bit thin.  But then again, it’s not a stout or a big beer by any means, so I would have to say it’s within the style category parameters.

Well, like I said, I really don’t care for pumpkin ales, so I was wary (but hopeful) when I bought and then drank this beer. This one is mild on the pumpkin pie/pumpkin ale spectrum.  It came in a 22 oz. bomber, so I had a lot of it to drink.  At first I thought I would not buy it again, but the more I drank it, the more I liked it.  The aroma is really enticing.  And for any of you who like Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, you might really enjoy this beer. But what you all want to know is, will I buy this again?  The answer is: probably yes, BUT . . . only one more bomber (after all, I can take only so much Pumpkin Ale).

So what’s the bottom line on Punkuccino?  In my opinion it’s good as far Pumpkin Ales go. If you like those types of autumn beers, this is one you should DEFINITELY try.  [Krissy – you’re the Pumpkin Spice Latte girl; you need to try this. Kevin – I don’t know if you are a Pumpkin Ale drinker, but you really need to support your homeboys on this one; no excuses!!]

Well, that’s it for now, beer lovers.  One of these reviews is probably a bit too late (Bravo), but the other is current and very relevant (Punkuccino), so get out there and support the craft brewing industry.

Sláinte!

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