Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Weary, Beery Weekend: Pumpkin Head, Oktoberfest, Tom Robbins

Ah, 'twas a good weekend for swilling an ale or 3. Now that it's getting to be Autumn, some maltier brews along the lines of Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales are coming out.
Part One:
I LOVE PUMPKIN. And after getting to recently try Southern Tier's Creme Brulee Stout I was eager to try their heavily lauded Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Pum King.
I poured the very attractive orange-peach color ale from the 22 oz. bottle into a wine glass, forming a small sudsy head that left decent lacing. The smell was awesome. Cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, cookies, Autumn, back-to-school, Halloween. All of that. The taste? Gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie atop a mild ale of malts and hops. Sweet, but not as much as you'd think. Started sweet, but the spice is what really stood out, especially the nutmeg, and then it ended on a bitter note. YUM. This is definitely an Autumnal treat. I drank the bomber over 3 hours. At one point I had a chocolate cupcake with it, which was awesome. The alcohol was not noticeable in taste, but I could definitely feel the 10%ABV after a while.

Part 2: The next day I stopped by a local Oktoberfest. It was pretty funny, and a nice (charitable) event, despite the drizzly rain. There was a strength contest - the ladies had to hold full steins out in front of them for as long as possible. The gentlemen had to hold kegs out in front of them! There was some traditional music, pretzels, and beer sampling. So what makes beer October/Oktober-style? Well, education: back in the day, brewers could not keep beer cold enough to brew in the summer, so they'd make a special beer in March, keep it cold in caves or caverns over the summer (some of which still are used in Germany)and then busted out to enjoy when the weather began to get colder once again. March = Marzen, so Oktoberfest beers are also called "Marzen". They are malty lagers, but that's about the only generalized characteristic that I can find. I sampled Sam Adams Oktoberfest and a Post Road Pumpkin Ale.

Part 3:
A trip to the public library and a glance in the new book room lead me to find this new book by Tom Robbins. I've never actually read anything by him, even though I know I've started Even Cowgirls Get the Blues multiple times. I should do something about that. Anyways, this is a "children's book for adults" about a smart 5 year old girl who learns about beer and life. It's actually pretty educational about the brewing process (as told by a Beer Fairy) and several micro-breweries get shout-outs. It's an odd little book, but entertaining enough and one I'd recommend to beer fans. Plus the little girl is sassy and kicks a drunk dude's ass at one point.

Pum-King Ale: A
Oktoberfest: B
B is for Beer: B

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