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10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston, #9: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

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I adore pumpkin. It's orange (my favorite color), healthful (fiber! Vitamin A!), and associated with two lovely, food-centric holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving). Starting around October, I always find myself on the hunt for pumpkin-flavored foods, and this autumn is no exception. So, between now and Turkey Day, I will be counting down 10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston.

#9: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Flavored seasonal beers have always invoked the neurotic. I inevitably find myself asking, "Am I really tasting chocolate?" or "Does this actually capture the golden days of summer?"...and I wonder if I just paid extra for the power of suggestion.

Such has been the case with many of the pumpkin beers I've tried. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, however, isn't like those other charlatan brews.

Mild in squash flavor and with strong notes of nutmeg and cinnamon, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale doesn't let you forget it's infused with real pumpkin meat, yet at the same time doesn't taste like fermented pie. The lovely light-brown hue makes me think of leafy sunsets and graveyards and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And it's funny: The more I drink, the easier it becomes to imagine what it might be like to share a pint with Ichabod Crane. I bet he's a lightweight.

Since 1994 the Punkin Ale has been available starting in early September to usually around late November (or until supplies last). Check for it at Spec's and WholeFoods, which offer four-packs for $8-9.

The list to date: #10: Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls at Chocolat Du Monde

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