Tag Archives: Spoooky Beer Review

Spoooky Beer Review: Narragansett “Innsmouth Olde Ale”

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The local inhabitants of old Watertowne have created much controversy among the scholarly professionals who have made it their business to research local legends and tales. The natives of this quiet little town have become lately restless. Strange whisperings among the more decadent and degenerate of their kind have indicated that a beverage, based upon an old recipe torn from the pages of some dark tome, has found its way onto shelves of numerous liquor stores.

In the hills of New England, various tribes of primitive man were known to cavort during the month that we know as October. Under the light of the dead moon, they would quaff deerskins brimming with an ale that was known to pierce the veil of their own understanding of how the mechanics of the universe function. During this time, when the skin of the world becomes transluscent and we can see through to the underspires of some other fantastical, cyclopean realm that beggars all rational thought, they would drink deep and see into the minds of the Old Ones.

It is with some hesitancy that I commit my own findings to the written page. I hesitate only because I know that I will only impel others to seek out what I myself have found and rob me of what appears to be a limited supply of this dark brew. I found Narragansett’s Innsmouth Olde Ale, on display between two pumpkin ales. My hands trembled as I reached toward it and I felt my mind retreat in upon itself. I knew not what happened then, only that I found myself back in my apartment, the six cans in my fridge and the pervasive odor of the sea clung to my garments.

I poured the can into the glass bearing the label of a lost and forgotten brewery. It is an amber-deep color, and smells of sweet fruit, reminiscent of cherries. There is a powerful amount of flavor, without it being overwhelming, reminiscent of a doppelbock. There are non-euclidian notes within, complexities upon complexities, and it does not do one well to drink quickly.

This is a beer to be enjoyed slowly and with great care and respect for the unendurable and immortal powers that created it. In a season replete with the intoxicating spices of pumpkins and the simpler, cleaner flavors of the Octobfest beers, “Innsmouth Olde Ale” is a refreshingly different alternative while still invoking the season in multiple ways, from its deep and hearty flavors that stave off the oncoming chill to the evocative can design.

If you’re a fan of beers like Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock and Spaten Optimator, you will enjoy “Innsmouth Olde Ale.”

I would give this beer five R’lyehs and the utter loss of my sanity instantly upon viewing the label.

-D-

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Spoooky Beer Review: Harpoon’s UFO Pumpkin

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Harpoon makes some of my favorite beers, from their UFO White to Leviathon, you’re generally going to get a solid, complex beer with a lot to offer. So I had high hopes when I picked up UFO Pumpkin.

And those hopes were resoundingly rewarded. This if the kind of pumpkin ale that I want to be drinking; when there’s more pumpkin than spices and I feel like I’m in the middle of Halloween instead of the middle of some over-saturated, over-spiced pumpkin pie being served up for someone’s Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s unfiltered, so it has a deep, cloudy orange, making it look heavier than it actually tastes. It’s a deep, rich orange. It’s a satisfying color, letting you know exactly what you’re in for.

There is cinnamon and spice up front, which gives way to a solid and hearty pumpkin flavor. Much like Pumpkinhead, it’s very crisp and ultimately very refreshing.

For day to day drinking, both Pumpkinhead and UFO Pumpkin are good beers. They both have a relatively low alcohol content and don’t overwhelm you with unnecessary flavor. It honestly depends on what you’re looking for in a pumpkin ale. If you’re looking for a more spice heavy beer, I’d go with Pumpkinhead. If you want something a little more pumpkiny (that’s a technical term), UFO Pumpkin should be your go-to this season.  The spices and the pumpkin flavoring go hand-in-hand.

For me, UFO Pumpkin is the way to go and I give it seven cheerful Jack O’ Lanterns and a scowling black cat.

-D-

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Spoooky Beer Review: Shipyard Brewing Co.’s Pumpkinhead

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Octoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

In spite of the fact that I have now reviewed it twice on my blog, I am really not a huge fan of Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin. There is a LOT of flavor in there, but’s mostly spice, with the minute amounts of pumpkin being overwhelmed by cinnamon and nutmeg.

Now, you may be asking, why am I talking about Smashed Pumpkin for the third time? Well, because I have, somehow, never tried Shipyard’s main Halloween offering: Pumpkinhead Ale.  Smashed Pumpkin is a fancy beer that you can only purchase in those oversized pint-and-a-half bottles with a gold foil cover; Pumpkinhead is more like Smashed Pumpkin‘s little brother. It has a lower alcohol content and is sold in six packs and even in…cans.

It is a big seller round these parts and a symbol that Halloween is barreling down the highway like some lunatic truck.

And I have never reviewed it.

So I’m going to rectify that…right now.

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As far as pumpkin ales go, Pumpkinhead is a nice golden color. Not really that deep, orange I expect form pumpkin ales, but it’s rich and reminds me of Fall. And really, that’s all you can ask for in a Fall themed beer.

The first thing I notice when I poke my nose in the glass is cinnamon. Lots and lots of cinnamon. And maybe nutmeg. And I know that I’m not going to be thrilled. It’s a sweet and heavily spiced aroma that promises little in the way of pumpkins and a lot in the way of spice.

And drinking confirms it.

It’s more spice than pumpkin, much like with Smashed Pumpkin. However, unlike Smashed Pumpkin, it’s much lighter: lighter flavor and lighter alcohol content. It’s more refreshing and less overwhelming. Smashed Pumpkin can put you on your ass and leave you there gagging on spices. Pumpkinhead is gentler and a better beer for it, though still not quite what I’m looking for in a pumpkin beer.

It’s the perfect middle-of-the-week beer. You need something to remind you that Halloween is coming and forget the eight hours of work you just endured. You grab a Pumpkinhead. You don’t swirl it in your pilsner glass and comment on the aromas, like some asshole with a blog. You sit on the couch, turn on a baseball game and wonder what in God’s name happened to the Red Sox this season and let Pumpkinhead take you away.

I give it a handful of cinnamon sticks. And a ginger root. Because I bought a ginger root a few weeks ago thinking that Emily and I were going to make dumplings, but that didn’t really happen and now it’s getting a little shriveled.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wiesn

I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wiesn

I love free things. We all love free things. If you see something in the store and it comes with something FREE, it triggers the same gut reaction as when you saw the free prize inside label on a cereal box. You HAD to have that cereal. Since I have the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old, this kind of marketing hits me hard and fast and I’m suddenly 15 dollars poorer for it.

I was in the store looking for any kind of Fall-themed beer when I saw something sitting on the shelf that arrested my gaze. It was a single beer….sold with a stein. For the low, low price of $13.00, I could buy a genuine, brewed in Munich, Oktoberfest Ale AND it came with a stein!

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It was packaged in both the only way possible and in a way that’s instructive: When you get home, the beer goes inside the stein. Not the other way around. I was in awe. It’s so…big. This is no mere pint glass. This is not for some bad day. This is for a bad WEEK, a week defined by a thousand irritations and exacerbations and mind numbing tediums and monotonous combobulations.  THIS is the glass you crack out when almost every aspect of your week has gone haywire and you will be goddamned if you let it ruin your weekend night.

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I realize now I gave you nothing to compare the size. Rest assured, that is not a normal sized beer can. That can holds a quart of beer. A quart. Like my new beer stein will also hold a quart of beer.

I don’t even want to review the beer. Who cares about the beer? This is about volume. This is about quantity. This is about having a glass you can slam onto the table and say, I want more! and the very world will shake beneath the blow. To Hell with bad days and bad weeks. Drink long and proud from you disturbingly large glass, because tomorrow is Saturday.

I give it a Hell Yeah.

Hell Yeah.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale

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I know Blue Moon entirely through their Belgian ale, which I do not like. To be honest, I don’t like any Belgian ales, on any level. So I took a chance here, a deep personal risk, to try their Harvest Pumpkin Ale. For all I knew, it was a Belgian that tasted like pumpkins. And no one wants that. Not even people that like Belgian ales would like that.

So I cracked it open and I sat it on the kitchen counter and I stared at it for a good five minutes, not even daring to pick it up. That’s when I realized, that the only thing worse than a Belgian ale that tasted like pumpkins, was a warm Belgian ale that tasted like pumpkins. I took a deep breath and swigged it down.

It’s a very pleasant, yet complex enough pumpkin ale. It’s a little sweeter than some of the other ones I’ve tried and the flavor is round and mellow, without any real sharp tang to it. The spice flavor, while present, is also not as strong as some other pumpkin ales I’ve had and more compliments the slight pumpkin and beer flavor than overpowers it.

All in all, a good pumpkin ale and one that I would recommend to people who haven’t had one yet and might be frightened off by the burly and strong flavors of Pumking or one of it’s ilk.

A pleasant fruity little ale and it finally gives me a Blue Moon product I can get behind.

That’s not Belgian.

I give it five waffles and a sprout.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Wachusett’s Octoberfest Ale

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Wachusett’s Octoberfest Ale

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Since I needed a break from pumpkin ales, I decided to go back to our old friend, the Oktoberfest Ale. It was while I was drinking this particular ale that I realized that I really don’t know what defines an Oktoberfest ale. What separates it from other ales? Age, mid-range alcohol content and an amber color apparently. Oh, and it has to be brewed in Munich, otherwise it’s not an authentic Oktoberfest beer.

Which might be why Wachusett went with a slightly different spelling of Octoberfest here. Their beer is definitely amber in color, a nice red-orange glow that would look at home on a pumpkin ale.

It’s light and airy and crisp, a perfect complement to a Fall day. It’s flavor is a little tart, a little sweet and very refreshing, if not overly complex. Unlike some other ales I might mention, it is not bland or lacking definition, but manages to find a balance between a light and pleasing flavor without sacrificing all of the complexity.

I definitely recommend it for people who don’t really want to chug down a lager or any darker, more mysterious beer filled with things hiding in the abyss. This is a beer made for sitting and relaxing on the porch while the first Fall leaves begin to fall from the trees.

I give it a smiling scarecrow, a goofy dancing skeleton and a couple of ears of corn.

Also, you can probably only buy it in New England.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Octoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale

For whatever reason, I’m incapable of not drinking pumpkin ales. It’s becoming a struggle for me. I use the reviews as a cover, but, deep down, I would drink the pumpkin ales anyway. Do you know how many I’ve bought to review and then just made disappear before even managing to snap a blurry picture of them with a monstrous spider in the background? A LOT.

At first glance, it has the same orange-y hues that most pumpkin ales have, but it’s deeper and darker, almost red. It smells a lot like any other pumpkin ale, but maybe with headier blast of spices.

It tastes a little like a subdued Pumking. No, that’s the wrong word for it. Not subdued. More subtle, not as bold a pumpkin flavor. But just as complex. Maybe MORE complex. Both beers are great pumpkin ales. They both deliver on spices and pumpkin and make you think of Fall with a beer, which is really all you can ask of a pumpkin ale.

But Imperial Pumpkin Ale is more spice than pumpkin and is quieter and more sly. If you have a friend who thinks Pumking is too much for him, then go with Imperial Pumpkin Ale. They’re both royal. They’re both imbued with the power of Halloween. And they’re both really great pumpkin ales.

Let me put it this way, before Imperial Pumpkin Ale, I thought Pumking was going to be the the best all season, but Imperial Pumpkin Ale has shaken my faith.

I give Imperial Pumpkin Ale five Pumpkinhead-era Lance Henriksens.

-D-

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