I'm posted up at the olive oil shop for the day (shhh don't tell my boss that I'm blogging on the job) and am hoping to see some folks in costume at the shop to make things festive. I'm also listening to Monster Mash on repeat. Why aren't there more Halloween songs? I need more.
In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to share last night's festivities with you! This was my 3rd Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting! It's one of my favorite traditions and I started acquiring this year's crop of pumpkin beers during the unseasonably early month of August. Insider tip: pumpkin beer selection seems to peak in mid-September. Early bird gets the seasonal booze!
To give you an idea, this was last year's pumpkin beer lineup...
My personal favorite last year was the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. The clunker of the group was definitely the Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl (also, *what* is with that name??). I don't want to say I poured it down the sink but.... well I 100% poured it down the sink.
This year's collection had a number of local brews, which I was excited about. Dare I say it -- I think this was the strongest showing yet!
My (biased but ultimately correct) ranking of the Pumpkin brews:
- Cawtawba Brewing King Don's Pumpkin Ale (the crowd favorite!)
- Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale
- Shipyard Pumpkinhead (the only beer of the group that actually tasted of *pumpkin* and not pumpkin pie spices - very vegetal - in a good way!)
- Williamsburg Alewerks Pumpkin Ale (Alma Mater Hail! Rhymes!)
- Flying Dog The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale (at 9.0% ABV there should be Fear indeed)
- Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
- Deep River Pumpkin Pie Porter (not initially very seasoned or pumpkinny but it grew on me)
- NoDa Brewing Gordgeous
- Flying Dog The Gourd Standard IPA (a fine beer, but not very *seasonal*)
- Troeg's Master of Pumpkin (wanted to love it because it had a cork (!!!) but sadly, that just wasn't enough)
- Harpoon Pumpkin UFO (my scientific and thorough notes for this beer read simply "NO")
And there you have it! I do want to give a special shout-out to the elusive Elysian Brewing Night Owl Pumpkin Ale which I tried several years ago and have very fond memories of.
FYI, pumpkin beer tastings go very well with a side of Crispy M&Ms (long live crispy M&Ms!), Sour Patch Kids and popcorn.
Any fun Halloween plans? Favorite pumpkin beer? What's your costume this year?!