[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-Carnivál 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]
PUMPS IN A BUMP:
PART I: Dogfish Head Punkin.
PART II: Cigar City Good Gourd.
PART IIa: Avery Rumpkin (Re-post).
PART III: Coors Blue Moon Pumpkin Harvest.
PART IV: Ace Pumpkin Cider.
PART V: The Conclusion
... (and a Round of Fuck-Marry-Kill).
Pumps in a Bump: Ignis Fatuus Drinkus comes to a graceless halt just hours before our departure to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival -- an event I anticipate will consist of three days of putting down as many 1 oz samples of the country's most adored and sought-after beers as our insides will allow, and behaving like the heathen children of the in-school suspension portable.
And as anyone with a sense of humor and an low moral fiber would know, drunk teenage hooliganism is fucking hilarious!
Because last week got away from me, and attendance at two major beer-centric events -- The Texas Craft Brewers Festival on Saturday and the Hops & Grain anniversary on Sunday -- were basically mandatory for anyone who enjoys enthusiastic appearances by both cold weather and craft beer, I neglected my intentions to finish off the series with a double-pump three-pointer at the buzzer. So, you get this shitty bricked layup of Fuck-Marry-Kill instead.
Now, for the uninitiated, F-M-K is raunchy middle school social-rouser where one must choose between the fates of three celebrities who have reasonably similar characteristics for categorization based on your preferences. The objective is to indicate with which one you would personally like to invite to eat crackers in bed, which you would get wifed for a lifetime of general pleasantries, and which you would like to introduce to the business end of a Leatherman Hunting Knife.
In the case of these three beers, the obvious common denominator is that all three are pumpkin ales, but vary a little bit on style and a whole lot on flavor. The general principal of the game is determining how shitty your taste is based on your preferences, and this is no different. However, unlike a traditional game of F-M-K, there is a bit of a twist on the colloquial meanings of each sub-header in this version. You'll see.
1) Fuck: Wasatch Pumpkin Ale.
As in, fuuuck this beer. One of the worst interpretations of anything ever, this cruddy beer drinks like a shitty R.E.M. cover band assembled by three high school burnouts and a cousin to play at their fly-over-state's harvest festival. The flavor almost instantly disintegrates on the tongue the moment it bleeds out of the bottle in a thin, watery stream of regrettable calories. At 4.0%, it isn't even worth the effort to rummage through the spatula drawer for the bottle opener. I'm not willing to give more of an effort to drink this than the folks at Wasatch expended to make it. This beer is complete shit about nothing much.
Acquired: Hyde Park Market
Musical Pairing: Ryan Adams | IV (2010)
2) Marry: Brooklyn Pumpkin Ale.
This is a beer that was kinda all excited about the Hall & Oates non-ironic resurgence, likes shopping for her mom, and eats edemame because doing so is like so much fun and weird! A beer that doesn't get too full of itself, and kind of takes a step back from the other pushy pumpkins out there. The truth is, this is probably the most consistent pumpkin beer you will find from September to November each year, because in my experience, the recipe has never changed. It is accessible, and available, and ready when you are to settle down together -- or maybe just watch some recycled comedy on the couch.
Its mildly spicy and semi-sweet, with a nice base beer that is something between a pale lager and an amber. In the back half, its full-bodied personality really shines, but don't try to press that issue.
Musical Pairing: Phoenix | It's Never Been Like That (2006)
3) Kill: Saint Arnold's Pumpkinator.
As in, slay the shit out of this muthafucka! This is Texas' only currency in the beer world -- at least the most obvious one. It is one of the most remarkable brews on the planet -- nevermind in just its niche goardy category. Pumpkinator is one of the reasons why I started collecting beer full-time in the first place, and that was to blow off work and hunt these down like white whales; the kind of beer that makes you swear too much and too loudly and wears slouchy jeans and has a nice haircut.
Pumpkinator is just plump with flavors -- heavy malts, chocolate, cinnamon bark, allspice, general autumn chestnuttiness, and, of course, perfectly parsed pumpkin notes that sing the gospel of all Pumpkin Ales like a black church. It is just fucking heavenly.
Go forth and seek this truth.
Acquired: Spec's (2012 out VERY soon)
Musical Pairing: Justice | † (2007)