Monday, September 2, 2013

Pumpkin Varieties/ Who's That in My Beer?

Coming back hot and heavy with the blogging this week, and on a holiday, no less. The pumpkin beers are upon us, not that any but the most out of their gourd pumpkin beer lovers are happy about it. I know that shelf space for the seasonal beers is the reason the breweries have to come out with the beers before people are ready for them, but does anybody else out there making these decisions realize how stupid the whole thing is?? Pumpkin beers are the "truest" of the seasonal styles. You think pumpkins, you think pumpkin pies, Halloween, Thanksgiving, leaves falling, cooler weather. So it stands to reason that sales for these pumpkin offerings would be higher if they were sold when people actually want to drink them, and not when the temperatures are still above 90 degrees and your only thought of Halloween is to remember to keep the porch light off that night.
Well, they're here, so I've got to write about them. Might as well buy them too. And since there are so many pumpkin beers out there that merit some press (Sam Adams Fat Jack, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Anderson Valley Fall Hornin', Rogue Pumpkin Patch), those beers are all of the straight pumpkin variety, so I thought I'd highlight a couple that vary from the norm. Red Hook Pumpkin Porter fits the bill here. Though they may have lost some craft beer cred to other breweries, Red Hook is still putting out drinkable beers. Pumpkin Porter is the newest in their Backyard Series. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger blend into this Porter style to make a 5.8% ABV beer that goes for $7.99-$8.99 a six-pack. Available in local liquor and grocery stores.

A beer born of the one-off New Belgium release Kick, Pumpkick contains the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and pumpkin juice that you see in the traditional pumpkin beer (ok, that last one sounds like something you spit in a cup but the rest are typical) and adds cranberry juice to the mix. The resulting beer adds a tartness that just seems right. It would seems even ore right if New Belgium added a whole uncut shaped-like-the-can cranberry glop in each bottle, but they only had so much time to even get the beer on shelves on time. $8.99 in area stores.

After reading about this beer, you may be salivating over those pumpkin beers, damn the temperature. Rogue Brewmaster John Maier has sported a beard since 1983, and now you can finally drink it. Beard Beer is made with a yeast strain derived from Mr. Maier's beard. That's right. And you could barely choke down that Lean Cuisine today. Rogue should make you feel more sure about buying it: "What does Rogue Beard Beer taste like? Try it, we think you'll be suprised..." Oh, I'll bet! But you bought the Maple Bacon Coffee beer, you have to buy this one. $8.99 per 22 oz. of John Maier's beard at Jubilation.

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