There’re moments in life in which appreciation simply cannot be thwarted, try as Life might.
Today has been the Greater Boston area’s first real taste of fall, a forty-degree recess that seems to cool not just the sweltering landscape, but burning souls as well. That stack of work piling ever higher? Crack open the office window and laugh as the breeze pushes papers across your desk. Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, a nameless worker-bee in the mass exodus from the hive? Take a look beyond the overpass at the trees, all showing off their summer’s-end sunburns of red and yellow and orange. Finally home and having trouble sloughing off the day’s worth of stress?
Just crack open a Harvest Pumpkin Ale.
Autumnal awesomeness will follow.
Harvest Pumpkin Ale is a limited edition seasonal from Samuel Adams, my all-time favorite brewery. The ale is making its second brief appearance, having first been brewed in 2010 and only made available in September/October. Perhaps because of this brevity of availability, I previously thought that Harvest Pumpkin Ale was only available in those clunky “seasonal mixer” twelve-packs that often include four beers I don’t want to drink. As such, I was ecstatic when my trip to the liquor saw me staring down a complete sixer of this pumpkin-potable.
Since I expected Harvest Pumpkin Ale to be bright orange in hue (just like its namesake-squash), I was a bit surprised when my glass was filled with a dark orange, dense-honey lookin’ liquid. But, had I actually read the bottleneck’s label before pouring, my preconceived notions could’ve been dispelled:
A perennial favorite at our Brewery Halloween party, this reddish amber ale is perfect for the fall.
Reddish. Amber. Ale.
Now intrigued by the notion that maybe, just maybe the brewery can tell me something of value about the ale, I hit up the Sam Adams website. The site is actually very informative, giving prospective drinkers insight into the general profiles, histories, and brewing facts of their beers. Of all the new facts thrust at my brain-bone, my favorite is definitely this historical tidbit:
Pumpkin Ale is one of the oldest beer styles that originated in America. Early colonists lacked some of the classic beer ingredients, so in place of malt other fermentable sugars such as molasses or pumpkin were used. Pumpkin beers were not as popular at first since the pumpkin was used for its sugar alone rather than its flavor.
That’s right, getting pumpkin-drunk is a tradition as old as America itself. I can just picture Giles Corey tossing back a stein of pumpkin ale, wiping the froth from his face, and then walking into Salem Village to get pressed to death. He knows that he’s not a fucking witch, but he’s not going to give those dogmatic shitwads the satisfaction of a denial, nor the futile attempt at self-preservation to be found in a false confession.
He’s lived a life. He’s had his pumpkin mead. He’s ready to die.
Anyways, Harvest Pumpkin Ale has a beautiful aroma, balancing roasted notes and spicy hints and even a floral quality. I’m heading to a relaxed soiree tonight, and I think I’m going to dab a little bit of the ale behind each of my ears. We’ll see if I’m not the most chatted-up former patient at the Von Erbe Insane Asylum’s fifth annual reunion!
Most importantly, Harvest Pumpkin Ale tastes good. Damn good. Overall, I’d say that the brew is sweet, but with just enough of a bitter kick to simultaneously reward beer-lovers and dissuade the Zima-freaks. For seasoned drinkers (alcoholic is no longer the preferred nomenclature, fyi), the seasonal will taste like pumpkin-buzz-soda pop. The flavors are bountiful, each bottle touting the powers of pumpkin, toasted spices, and smooth caramel.
In short, Sam Adams has done it once again. Although I still think their Octoberfest is my fall drink of choice, Harvest Pumpkin Ale is a formidable contender. With the breeze lapping at my heels, the harvest moon on the horizon, and the Octoberfeast whispers beginning to make their way throughout the courtyard, Harvest Pumpkin Ale more than hits the spot.
The verdict: A-