Hi, all! Welcome to back to our new feature called PUB DATE where Estelle from Rather Be Reading, Andi from Andi’s ABCs, and Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages and I all team up to pair books + beers in harmony! Each week, one of us will features a beer and a book of our choice, each with a different theme for that month!
This month’s theme: HALLOWEEN
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! Why? I actually have no idea. I think I just enjoy the spirit of it all. I’m really NOT into scary things at ALL (though I try my hand occasionally and always get too scared) but the Halloween spirit has just always been something that I’ve really enjoyed. I also really like fall so that adds to the occasion and now it’s a special time of the year for me having met Shane at a Halloween party and my wedding a week away from the holiday!
Obviously for a Halloween-themed Pub Date, I’m featuring a pumpkin beer. The problem I had was WHICH? I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin beer and O’Fallon’s pumpkin beer was the best I had so far! Then I had a brilliant (and also awful) idea. A pumpkin beer taste test! I went to the liquor store and grabbed three more beers to put them to the test with this handy beer flight set that Shane’s friend got us as a wedding shower present! (Woo!) I did NOT think this through, however, because now I’m stuck with three different kinds of pumpkin beers (I had already finished the O’Fallon one that I had actually enjoyed) and my taste test did not go too well. (Guys, why do people like Pumking? Not my thing.) Anyway, I’m putting the “results” of the taste test where I usually share my beer recs so check that out at the bottom of the post!
As for a good Halloween book… Well, that one’s a tough one. Last year I listened to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman on audio and it was so perfect for Halloween-time and an excellent read (and audio) overall. I wanted to listen to it again, but the timing just didn’t work out this year. I’m not a huge fan of “scary” books but I’ve been picking a few spooky reads for Halloween to feature during A Fortnight of Fright (I really enjoyed The Fall by Bethany Griffin, to be featured)! Ultimately, I have to go with HOUSE OF LEAVES. Alyssa, Amy, and I are reading this together throughout October & November for On the Same Page and I am already terrified. I’ve heard that this book is WEIRD and “unlike anything anyone’s ever read before”. That’s cool… I like unique… but I’m also terrified it will scare the pants off me. I’ve heard it’s more mindf*ckery (pardon my language, but also if you’re looking a beer post, I’m assuming you’re 21 anyway (drink responsibly!)) than actual SCARY but from what I’ve read so far (which is only like 30 pages), I can easily see how it gets into your head. I’m already glancing over my shoulder for things that go bump in the night (or the daytime). I’m mostly just hoping it’s not TOO scary for me because it’s a hefty book and I want to enjoy my time reading it! (I’m such a chicken) It’s also pretty heavy so far in the beginning but I’ve been told to push through and that the story does develop. So, you know… Just be on the lookout for instances where you will have to hold my hand while I read this one! But this is probably the most legit Halloween read I will ever have!!
Thanks for joining us for another edition of Pub Date! Missed any posts? You can catch up at any time on my blog page for the Pub Date Feature!
(pumpkin beer taste test results!)
Just a friendly reminder — when you’re trying new beers, always try to have the cleanest palette possible! I tried Pumking first and it really affected how everything else tasted!
- Pumking by Southern Tier Brewery. Pumpkin Ale // 8.60% ABV. WHEW. At 8.60% ABV, BOY, CAN I TASTE IT. I love beer and I don’t mind beers that have a higher alcohol content but what I don’t like is when I can really, really taste it. Beer is my favorite (clearly) and I enjoy drinking it for many reasons but obviously the top reason is the many different flavor options and beers that taste too alcoholic totally kill any flavor for me. Pumking is a really big pumpkin beer and I feel like it’s almost a legend in itself, but it is just not for me. It honestly tasted like hard alcohol to me (maybe they ferment it in old whiskey barrels or something?) and I had Shane taste it and the flavor he pin-pointed was vanilla and I shouted “YES!” because it tasted like vanilla vodka with some fall-ish spices which *shudder* actually reminded me of drinking vanilla vodka. I opened this bottle the other day and haven’t drank another drop since this tasting. I may have wasted some money on it but that is not what I was expecting.
- Pumpkin Ale by Wild Onion Brewing Company. Pumpkin Ale // 5.40% ABV. This one is from a local brewery and I was really interested to try it. With the taste of Pumking still in my mouth, this beer tasted a bit TOO flavorless in my taste-test but lucky for me, I had a whole six pack (well, technically five pack at this point) left so I got to drink it again on a totally clean palette and honestly, it makes a big difference. I bumped up its rating a half star on Untappd and found that it had a bit more flavor than I first tasted. Still not one of my favorites, but it’s not bad. I think it could just use some more spices, a little more flavor…
- Fall Hornin’ by Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Pumpkin Ale // 6.00% ABV. I’ve tried a couple beers from Anderson Valley and enjoyed them and Fall Hornin’ is no exception. It’s still not my FAVORITE pumpkin beer but it’s a delicious drink. It’s the darkest in color of the four I sampled and it definitely has a more amber taste as well — a bit heavier mouth-feel and a bit heavier on the alcohol content. (Well, compared to the Wild Onion beer… we’re not taking about Pumking here.) I really enjoy this one though! I rated it slightly above Wild Onion’s pumpkin beer, but still not my favorite…
- Pumpkin Beer by O’Fallon Brewery. Pumpkin Ale // 5.50% ABV. This was kiiiiiiind of cheating because I had already had O’Fallon’s pumpkin beer before this taste test and fell in love BUT it needed to be included in this head-to-head. In search of the best pumpkin beer (after Sam Adams and Blue Moon) apparently I found it pretty quickly. O’Fallon’s pumpkin ale is everything that I want in a pumpkin beer: it has just the right amount of spices but still has a light, crispness to it. I’ve been avoiding IPAs and things like porters lately because I just haven’t been in the mood for super hops and super heavy so this beer totally hit the spot. The best way to describe it is that it ALMOST had a cider-y feel so I think it’s perfect for people who aren’t AS into beer. It just feels so light and almost has a sort of tartness so it’s reminiscent of ciders but it’s not ACTUALLY tart (if I’m making any sense at all). Anyway… this was definitely the top choice for me! I just loved how it had all of the taste and it wasn’t too heavy. Fall is the time to get into some heavier beers but I just loved how much of an easy-drinker this was! O’Fallon wins! (Yet again!)
** Beer styles and alcohol content from Beer Advocate **