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Column: Unleash your fall spirit with this pumpkin spice-inspired beer
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Pontoon Brewing Co.'s The Great Punkin' Spice embraces bold autumn flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. - photo by Kelsey Podo

The only time I get called a basic White girl, at least to my face, is around fall.  

I think it’s a combination of the cooler air, colorful leaves and pumpkin-flavored everything that summons this side of me. It’s like I remain dormant during all the other seasons, and as soon as the pumpkin spice lattes hit the menu at Starbucks — I awaken.  

The boots come out, the Halloween decorations go up and my obsession for pumpkin treats takes the center stage. After quickly scanning my surroundings, I counted at least 20 pumpkins, both real and fake adorning the mantle, tables and various nooks and crannies of my home. This doesn’t even include the outside display. 

I don’t know what started this obsession, maybe it’s just in my blood. Luckily, my husband — who likes to call me his “witchy wife” this time of year — doesn’t mind the décor, so I’ll keep embracing the autumn spirit.  

This week I reached the full height of my pumpkin queen status when I stumbled across Pontoon Brewing Co.’s The Great Punkin’ Spice at Downtown Drafts in Gainesville. I’m not sure if I even snatched the beer off the shelf, it all happened so fast. Before I knew it, the beer appeared in my hands and I was signing the receipt.  

Out of all the pumpkin beers I’ve tasted, this one takes the cake. According to Pontoon’s description of the beer, The Great Punkin’ Spice is made with pumpkin, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla and lactose. If you’ve read my previous pumpkin beer story, you’ll know that not much of the “pumpkin” flavor comes from the actual pumpkin, but instead the spices used to create that fragrant seasonal flavor. You know what I’m talking about, that allspice, deliciously fall flavor. 

I tasted all the different elements in this malt-forward brew. Just a word of caution, I’d consider this a dessert beer. It’s one of those brews that I wouldn’t want to drink with a meal. This imperial brown ale sticks in your gut like a dessert would. Also, the higher alcohol by volume — 8% to be exact — makes it a little boozy, so I’d recommend drinking it after dinner anyway. 

Back to the flavor. It’s safe to say The Great Punkin’ Spice brings all the spice. I picked up a bit of cloves, cinnamon and a little nutmeg. This full-bodied beer doesn’t shy away from being bold.  

Also, who could resist the adorable Charlie Brown-inspired name and logo? Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen on several media outlets, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” won’t be airing on CBS this year after nearly six decades. However, don’t completely lose all hope, you will be able to find it on AppleTV+. But it’s just not the same.  

Instead of watching the fall TV staple this year, I’ll raise a pint of The Great Punkin’ Spice and most likely watch my favorite spooky movie, “What We Do in the Shadows.” If you haven’t seen the movie or TV show yet, I implore you to give it a shot. It’s witty, hilarious and simply spooktacular. 

The Great Punkin’ Spice 

Brewery: Pontoon Brewing Co. 

Alcohol by volume: 8% 

Style: Imperial brown ale 

Bottom line: A beautifully bold beer

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