Friday, October 5, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider | California Cider Company | Sebastopol, CA

[We are back to celebrate the great beer month of October, a period of 31 days fondly indexed inside my malt-addled brain as the Beer Advent -- an anthology of festivities ranging from the beer-Carniv├íl known as Oktoberfest, to the SXSW-like, Beer-di-Gras of GABF -- then mercifully ending with the fraudiest-of-children's-holidays distorted to be a massive carousal of adult excess and dumbfuckery.  Typically, that involves feasting on trial-sized Kit Kats and reveling in bombers of chocolate stout while passing out the shittiest of leftovers from my bowl.

[AA] will commemorate The Great Beer Month by discussing Pumpkin Ales -- a polarizing style in the world of craft, undone by the carelessness of particulates handled in bulk by the Big Brewers and their chicanery.

So, welcome to [AA]'s multi-part series called Pumps in a Bump: Ignis Fatuus Drinkus]

PART I: Dogfish Head Punkin.
PART II: Cigar City Good Gourd.
PART IIa: Avery Rumpkin (Re-post).
PART III: Coors Blue Moon Pumpkin Harvest.


One of the things about getting punched in the liver by beer everyday is that getting punched in the liver by beer everyday gets a little old from time to time.  

This is why having a backup plan is always fun and necessary for days I'm being a soft little bitch.  Lately, my safety word has been Balcones Blue Corn Whiskey -- and before that, Redbreast Irish Whiskey (before it became $60/bottle) -- but I've always appreciated when something new, interesting, or unusual captures my attention when I've got hop-AIDS.

Recently I ran into something that covered all three of the 'new, interesting, unusual' bases, and it was Ace's Pumpkin Cider.  I was all, wuuuuuuuut?, like a ticket tree was pulling two luxury box tix for the WVU game out of my ears.  So I helped it continue around that last base and into the last 90 feet towards home.

I had never heard of pumpkin cider, and lo! I'm in the middle of writing a pumpkin series with an acute case of palatal grain fatigue.  So, booya!


It is my opinion -- and it should be everyone's -- that cider is one of the most misunderstood, most under-appriaciated beverages in the alcohol drinkdom.  I know this because I read a lot of British shit, and they're always drinking it -- and hey, they're a pretty drunk and interesting culture -- so if they think this shit's great, it must be the dog's ball, right?  This is typically how I judge shit: Do the Brits think its cool?  Check.  Do the French? Check.  Can I dance to it?  No.  But will it make me forget the day-to-day wankery, anyway?  Check Check.

Conclusion: Drink the shit.

I'll say that one of the most strangely fun moments in my life was killing a 27-hour layover in the Frankfurt borough of Sachsenhausen with my wife, drinking apfelwein and dunkel until we ran out of Euros and finally passing out in tiny hostel with cider-phlegm and hard buzzes.  I have an enormous appreciation for anything endorsed by a legendary drinking culture like that of Ze Germans, and therefore, the consensus is that cider is worthy of its place at the dining table. 

Americans have mistreated cider by inserting it into the same conversation as wine coolers and roofies -- the munitions used against feminine cannon fodder.  It deserves so much more respect than that.  Cider has a venerable history in The United States, and, like Farmhouse Saisons in France and Belgium, is at least partially responsible for the progression of our society when drinking water was unsafe for consumption.  You see, we kind of owe our lives to cider in that it kept our forefathers alive well enough for them to shag our super-great-great-great-great, etc grandmothers.  Thanks cider!

To be completely honest, if not for the packaging, I would have thought this was a straight-forward, traditional apple cider -- but something has to be said for the power of suggestion, and I could somewhat distinguish some light pumpkin and allspice notes that made this a good-time drinker.  And since the whole entire world has been into sour beers lately, a thought came to mind that people who were into that (fucking everyone, though, right?!), would be into this -- a re-fermented sour pumpkin ale.  I really kind-of like the sound of that.

As you would probably suspect, there was minimal head from the pour, even after I slammed it into the glass like a Luis Scola dunk -- and it drank more similar to a sparkling wine than a hard cider -- but I found that it had a great balance and a tart, pleasing finish that made it a nice overall drink.  It was a very decent way to spend an evening in the same way that dinner at Red Lobster, followed by watching syndicated episodes of Big Band Theory on the couch, then maybe a little protected sex afterward would be.

*Also of note:  this beverage is Gluten-FREE, for all you Gluten haters out there. 

ABV: 5.o%
Acquired: Hyde Park Market
Musical Pairing: Efterklang | Magic Chairs (2010)

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