Smashing pumpkin beers

Typically in the fall, we pick up a sixer of pumpkin beer. I drink one (suffering through the final eight ounces) and Michelle drinks the other five over the course of a week or two.

This year, a co-worker brought back some Schlafly Pumpkin Ale back from St. Louis for a Staff Morale Day. It is quite possibly the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had. What sets it apart? Its aroma is deep and alluring. I’ve decided that in order to have a decent fully enjoyable pumpkin ale, a brewer must fire this sucker up to a good eight percent alcohol by volume. What I noticed is that when Schlafly did this, I enjoyed not only the aroma, but  a good six ounces of the beer itself. I should have stuck to smelling it.

Part of this is me, and you’ve heard this before: a little bit of clove goes a long way.

So you might really like pumpkin beers, and that’s okay. It’s just that they are not for me. However, I believe that it’s not out of line to ask professional brewers a handful of questions about this fall brew:

1. Does this stuff really fly off the shelves?

2. Does if fly enough to mash with pumpkins?

3. Does it fly enough to bottle it (and design and purchase pumpkin labels)?

4. Does it fly enough that you care if you have a slice of this niche-within-a-niche market?

5.Is it worth the trouble to get label approval?

6. Is it worth the trouble to get label approval in more than one state?

7. Most importantly, is it worth the tank space? Sub-question: If, for example, Dogfish Head has such trouble keeping up with demand, why would they screw with this ho-hum elixir? Sub-sub-question: Shouldn’t they just make sure that everybody can get all the Raison D’Etre they need?)

That said, Schlafly did a really good job on this beer. It’s just that I don’t care. I kept thinking to myself, “self, don’t you think that it’d taste interesting to stir in some apricot preserves? I bet that would taste dandy!”

I guess I’d rather have a slice of pie in the fall.


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