Mike and I are back, talking about beer. (Shocker!) This time we are discussing another Pumpkin Ale and it had a bit of a surprise for us both. Judging from the amount of hits, comments and emails, our last review went better than I had anticipated. So this time we included a little skit. See if you know the movie.
Thanks for watching these. It’s nice to take a Saturday, drink beer and feel like you are being productive and creative. Or acting like a 13-year-old with mom’s video camera. Which ever. The next one will come later on this week with more beers and the much-anticipated Sierra Nevada “Tumbler”. Be excited. And if you’re not….lie to me.
(I still say “um” like 900 times. My college Public Speaking 101 professor is shitting twice and dying right now.)
Goodness, it’s almost the middle of October already? That is insane and really the only reason it hit me today is the fact that my face is numb from walking downtown tonight. That hasn’t happened since April here. And you know what that means? Fuckin’ snow is just around the corner and I will be bitching and moaning. Just letting you know that ahead of time.
But before I switch gears to winter wonderland I am still full throttle in the celebration of Samhain. So onto a new beer review focusing on one great brew company and a smaller micro. I just love tasting pumpkins, hay rides, campfires, Reese’s Pieces, ghosts and Charlie Brown in an alcoholic beverage. Perhaps I think of this too much.
This evening I am going to start off with a very popular beer company from the country that made Oktoberfest what it is. The Munich, Germany company, Spatan, has been rocking great beer since (get this) 1397. Holy shit, now that is worth bragging rites. They were making beer when the Spanish Inquisition was going on. You know, no one is prepared for the Inquisition.
I figured a backdrop of peanut butter M&Ms would suit this nicely. (That’s for you Lacey) To be honest, if this beer didn’t have Oktoberfest on the label, I would never imagine this to be a Fall beer. It has more of a Summer/Spring taste to be honest. The light body and very little aftertaste leaves one wondering, why Oktoberfest? This should be “Spring-enzi Deutch” if I was to name it. Actually, I kind of like that. No one steal that, okay?
I know I hammered on Spatan about it’s lighter body for an Oktoberfest beer but I really like the taste. You can imagine eating bratwurst with this, I am sure. But if you were sitting outside with a lit Jack-o-Lantern, wrapped in a Snuggie and passing out KitKats, this beer wouldn’t hold Halloween weight. I think I may risk skunking the beer and save a few 6 packs for next year’s boat parties. Hotdogs and watermelon would be a treat with this Spatan special.
Whoa! Hoptober comes at you with both fists! Let me start out by saying, I love IPA (Indian Pale Ales). There are fireworks and fairy dust that fly every time I take a sip of a great bitter IPA. Hoptober Golden Ale does that like no other. This is the beer you want on chilly evenings listening to Edgar Allen Poe-etry around a campfire.
The company that makes Hoptober (amazing name) is Belgium Brewing Company out of Fort Collins, Colorado. To be honest, as a very novus beer connoisseur, I am not familiar with them. I will say that the label drew attention immediately. See? I’m a novus. Really, I can only speculate that the painting is of a bunch of crazed circus freaks dancing in the nude around a campfire during broad daylight. That’s weird, macabre and strange; all three things I find next to godliness. Extra points, Hoptober!
I believe you have to be an IPA fan to really enjoy this beer. It has a bite, a little bitter and an aftertaste that will require either a cigarette or licking the face of Fran Drescher to alleviate the palate. So Zima drinkers beware, you may be in for a disappointment. But really, if you are a Zima drinker you probably have a life of disappointments anyway. Do they even make that shit anymore?
Sorry if you are a Zima drinker. I’m not one to judge and that was a pretty mean comment. Seriously though, expand your horizons. 🙂 Where was I? Oh yeah, Hoptober Golden Ale is the winner in my book. If you are fortunate to find this, buy it and drink it while carving something. The season of the dead emanates from the bottle and it inspires…almost anything!
CARVING RANDOM SHIT 2009!!!
If you know me or have been a follower on my blog, Veggiemacabre, then you know I have this weird addiction to Reduced Fat Triscuits. It has become such a staple in my diet that I believe if I were on death row, my last meal probably would include these crackers. Call me crazy but I love these woven wheat crackers so much, I really came close to naming my cat Triscuit. Looks like my first born will have the pleasure of the name instead.
It turns out these boxes are a pretty good canvas for Jack-o-lantern faces. Way better than the oval and circular objects of the past. The problem is the hollow box can be less protective of the crotch when you are jamming a knife into the flimsy cardboard. Most people would have known that.
So one close call to Rupert and the Diablo Twins and a lap full of cardboard shreds, this is what I have created.
Notice the action-shot fear in my cat’s face when she saw the demonic Triscuit box? Bet she’ll never sit on my laptop keyboard again. Well, actually I am sure she will. Training her is like telling plate tectonics to stop.
Spatan Oktoberfest: B-
I really liked the taste but to me, it does not qualify as a Fall beer. I know these guys have been brewing beer when Columbus’ great grandfather was born and the Surfs were surfing but I just can’t stop thinking of beach balls and cookouts when I drink it. They get a B for their 1397 age and a minus for the Oktober.
Hoptober Golden Ale: A
A solid A for the hoppy IPA that has a little sweetness. The sweetness reminds me of the spices of Fall. I dig that. Plus, the cover art makes my mind go to dark places. And really, isn’t that what where we want our mind to go on the day of the dead?
I kind of regret telling everyone what I named my manhood. Happy Halloween!
“Just a comment to correct a few inaccuracies. There is no such thing as an “Oktoberfest” beer as Oktoberfest is not a celebration of beer, but rather a celebration of Bavarian culture. Bavarian beer is traditionally very light. I will also add, since almost no one seems to know this, Oktoberfest takes place at the end of September, running until very early October.
The beer is called Spaten, not Spatan. It takes it’s name from the Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, which makes the excellent hefeweizen bier Franziskaner.
Anyways, just a comment from a German who does not like fallacies about their culture.”
Thanks for setting me straight. I will do a Polka Dance of Apology.
And here we are! It is mid September and this Indian summer is finally fading into a crisp fall here in the Northwest. I must admit that this is one of my favorite times of year. You can just feel the change happen; spookiness with a need for sweaters and I love it.
This also is a time for the 3rd Annual Fall Beer Review! You’re damn right I am making this an annual thing and it is a great excuse for me to combine brews with my favorite season. If you can’t trick or treat, this is the next best thing. But this year I am having two. A private micro brew is sending me theirs so I have to wait but until then I have wanted to review a larger Fall beer that is one of my favorites.
Enter Michelob’s Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale. This is a beer that should be named something like, “Son of a Bitch This Is Awesome!” because it hits on every Autumn tinge that makes this a seasonal beer. And above all else, it is lighter to accomodate those who are not true hardcore beer fanatics. Some people don’t like to heave after every sip.
Before I get to the taste, I need to point out that the look of this bottle/package is just too great not to jump around and howl at the moon for. From the orange fade-to-brown color scheme to the mascot, “Jack”, it lets the drinker know that they are drinking a season in a bottle. It almost reminds me of a throw back to the early eighties when jack-o-lanterns and scarecrows still ruled the decor for Halloween. At least that is the perception from me as a child. If they included a black cat on here then I probably would have thrown the six pack on the ground in the grocery and break danced in the froth and glass in a celebratory fashion. Luckily for Jack, the grocery store, aisle 5 and me, there are no cats on the label art.
NUTMEG, CINNAMON, GINGER and CLOVES. These are the primary ingredients in this potion. My heart pitters over the balance of not only the spices but the words. It is like a witch’s concoction that casts a spell to buy paper skeletons and watch Halloween until the VCR finally spits it out in protest. And the blend? Pure September/October because remember, Halloween is not a day but a season.
This is one of those beers that can not be faulted when the air is cool, college football is on and leaves are falling. If it is 90 and you are sitting by the pool you may feel like you are drinking a spent Hallmark seasonal candle. Luckily we are in the time frame to enjoy this one and I think it is beyond aces. But the past couple of years you have only heard my take. I’m going to go ask my neighbors to weigh in.
I will leave you with these because, really…I am drunk now. Seriously, I have downed a few of these and I just think anymore of me rambling will lead to embarrassment. But I did ask Matt at X-E.com and he said persevere. Will do sir. Next review I will carve something and that is a promise. So, here are my friends and their take.
Cearsar:“ It doesn’t taste like the normal seasonal brews. It’s not a “bitch” beer but it’s definitely not a beer you would think. It is smooth and goes down easy and I got used to the taste and that causes one to start drinking more quickly. Not a good thing.”
Giggles: “Tasty up front and I also like the after taste. It tastes like pumpkin pie but not too strong. The best thing I like is the lower carbonation and lighter body. It doesn’t leave you feeling full and bloated.”
Hairy Wookie: “Free beer? Where?” Actually this is the beer to drink around a campfire. It is something to keep you warm at night but not too full to keep you down in the morning.”