AF&TB - October Spectre-tacluar begins!
by Beedo Sookcool
on 2012-10-01, 11:45:47
Because “Spook-tacular” has been done to death, that’s why. And considering the beers I’ve got lined up for this month, “Spectre-tacular” is a bit more appropriate.
Hallowe’en has propagated like a wildfire over here in Britain recently, and so have Hallowe’en-themed beers. So I’ve decided to give October’s entire month’s allotment of reviews over to them. And here’s the thing: I was in the supermarket last week, and even more have shown up since last year! I may have to get some speedy photography and reviewing in . . . .
It’s odd how circumstances can concatenate. Both (mostly) Greeata and (to a lesser extent) ner vod Chris had been telling me about how big seasonal pumpkin ales have been getting in the States as of autumn 2011. And what should I find in my own local supermarket in Torbay, Devonshire, in October 2011, but a British pumpkin ale. Hells, we haven’t even stumbled across the idea of pumpkin as a pie filling over here. (Which, in my mind, is a lamentable and unacceptable omission of a crucial developmental stage in squash-based comestibles.) And yet, less than two weeks after first being told about its development in the States, and as I was honestly considering e-mailing Wychwood breweries and asking them to produce a seasonal pumpkin ale, they only bloody well went and did it!
I later found out from one of my fellow ale-loving co-workers (Thanks, Susie!) that Pumpking has seen release in previous years, but I’ve just never seen it before 2011. Claimed to be an “Evil Pumpkin Beer,” at 4.2% ABV, it falls within the standard parameters of proof rating for mass-market beer. The label on the back says “This rich, ruby ale is brewed with pumpkin & mace to add a gently warming seasonal spiciness. Hints of toffee & a luscious depth of dried fruit & caramel are perfectly balanced by complex hop flavours. It’s the perfect Hallowe’en treat.” No, the perfect Hallowe’en treat is being greeted by your significant other while she is dressed in an edible Slave Leia costume, but I digress.
I wouldn’t say it’s really a “ruby” ale, but it’s darker than a golden ale and not as brown as a brown ale. Maybe an amber ale. Ice-cold, Pumpking is honestly much like any other high-quality ale, with nothing much to distinguish it. When it warms up a bit, however, to about 40° F / 4.5° C or perhaps a tad more, the mellowness of the pumpkin and malt flavours come out and mingle nicely with the spice and hops. It’s slightly sweet and not hugely pumpkiny, but a very, very smooth and satisfying beer to drink. As yet another evil Wychwood Hallowe’en brew (to go along with Green Goblin Cider & Hobgoblin Ale and King Goblin Special Reserve), Pumpking gets paired up with the Evil Ghost Minion of Skeletor, Scare Glow. Because I don’t have any Jack Skellington figures, and even of I did, I wouldn’t use ’em in case Disney’s stormlawyers found out, that’s why.
The biggest complaint I have for Wychwood is this: they offer T-shirts with their products’ label art on them, for five bottle caps and £9.99 (about $14 - $18 American, depending on the exchange rate at the time). That’s not the problem. That’s actually kriffing excellent. The problem is, they only sell them in XL. Now, look at your average post-college-age beer drinker, especially the Real Ale enthusiasts. An XL won’t cut it. Even if I lost every microgram of subcutaneous fat, an XXL shirt might just about fit over my huge, barrel-like ribcage. As I stand now, even though I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since Christmas 2011, after years of good food and drink in Ohio and other parts of the U.S.A., years of good food and drink in England, and my encroaching arthritis putting a dent in my activity levels, suffice it to say that I’m into XXXL territory, and I still ain’t even in the same gravitational league as some of the beer drinkers I’ve seen on either side of the Atlantic. So, if Wychwood would like to offer another size range, I’d happily pay a bit more to get a bigger T-shirt to advertise their wares.
Drink this if you also like: Pumpkin ales, novelty ales, seasonal ales, mellow smooth ales, ales in general.
CreatureCantina.com is not affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd. or any of its licensees... damn them to hell. Can't they see a golden opportunity when they see it? Buy us, you fools! You already own our souls and all our money... buy US!!!
Star Wars is © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.