Well I only went 1-2 in Week 1 but I was a Michael Vick interception away from being right about the Browns. Anyway, being September 12th, it is finally ok to openly discuss pumpkin beer because it doesn’t feel too early. Huzzah. I received an email from Rogue a few weeks ago where the president asked simply, “How can pumpkin beers be made before we are harvested?” Rogue of course raises their own pumpkins for beer (Much like everything else they sell) and was trying to point out that pumpkin harvests occur during September and October. Many pumpkin beers have been available since early September and even into August, which, with some simple fermentation math, means that they either got pumpkins from other parts of the world OR used a puree (most beer takes about 3-4 weeks to make). As an unabashed lover of this American style, I have to say I don’t care either way. It’s nice to get fresh pumpkin and making the beer later in the season does make it available later in the year. However, the Dogfish Head Punkin is make before the harvest and is one of the best pumpkin ales on the market, so I leave it up to each individual to decide when to start drinking it.
Heavy weight match-up that has nothing to do with Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan. Avery is a big brewery from Boulder, CO which specializes in strong/flavorful beers. They also play around with themes such as a line of beers named after dictators, evil mythological demons, and holy figures. All of these are wonderful beers ranging in styles and alcohol content, but the apple of my eye is the Rum Barrel aged Pumpkin beer known as the Rumpkin. I cannot say enough good about this beer that clocks in at a whopping 15.9% alcohol by volume. Its got all the great flavor of an imperial pumpkin ale with the boozy candy molasses flavors that come from the rum aging. I first tried this on a night that I planned on studying for a test and never got to study. I was floored by this beer and could not stop myself from ordering another. On the other side, Terrapin has a nice pumpkinfest beer that fits into with other medium bodied pumpkin ales with a nice pumpkin pie nose that is surprisingly easy to drink. They also do a lot of big collaboration beers such as the Monstre Rouge which was a fantastic layered Flanders red ale with some lovely sour and wood notes. They really do make some great beer down in Georgia and they have a really cool mascot which they change for every beer.
Winner: Denver. Sorry Atlanta, this one was really hard for me but I can’t stop thinking about that Rumpkin. I almost didn’t want to talk about it because people might buy it all before I get the chance to.
St. Louis is home to one of the top quality brew pubs that has just slowly grown and grown over the last 20 years. They make a great resiny floral American Pale Ale as well as many quality offerings, but to keep with the theme I have to talk about their Pumpkin Ale. It’s quite honestly the perfect representation of the style that I can think of. It is big in alcohol and body. It has all the great pumpkin flavor in spices suspended in harmony and you just find yourself wanting to drink it more and more. If you see this limited brew, buy it because it is great to have for the holidays and it doesn’t last long. As for the Bluejacket. Sorry y’all, no pumpkin here. I know. But with the buzz over RGIII …I had to give you a comparable beer example because the Redskins QB isn’t the only breakout star in this city. This brew pub has started brewing collaborative beers all over the country before their opening but the one I have to talk about is the Snack Attack Imperial Porter. Wow, this beer was amazing. It uses pounds and pounds of peanuts in the boil to create the sensation that you are drinking a liquid version of salted peanuts mixed with hard chocolate candies. I honestly can’t wait for them to hit the scene so I can get some of this beer just to watch a movie. All the beers they offer are top-notch and ridiculously creative. If you are planning to visit the District in 2013, check them out.
Winner: Washington. I gotta keep going with the trend of the upstart taking down the veteran.
Baltimore Ravens (Clipper City/Heavy Seas Brewing) v. Philadelphia Eagles
Now, I know I picked a Philly game last week but I feel I should take some time to talk about Baltimore because I am going to be attending the Heavy Seas Pyrates Pigs and Pints event this Saturday at the brewery. This brewery is so much fun to visit and I cannot wait to get my hands on some of their Great Pumpkin on tap. It’s a strong flavorful spicy imperial pumpkin ale. They also do a beer called the Greater Pumpkin which they age in Bourbon Barrels to give it a bourbon vanilla oakiness. Everyone should also try their Loose Cannon IPA which is great, but when on cask it tastes like blended passion fruit/mango/pineapple. Their cask guy is first rate and has even gone as far as to let people vote on twitter to help him put together a cask. They are fearless with experimenting with flavors and really are a great brewery.
Winner: Baltimore. I was going to pick another brewery but I’m just so excited for Baltimore that I decided to make this a one sided choice. While the founding fathers were part of the brewing movement that first started using pumpkins to brew in America, I can’t look past the allure of beer and bacon.
Anyway, I hope you all are excited for football. I will have more information about the Heavy Seas event on Sunday. they always break out something new so there should be a lot to talk about.