Harold Kushner said, “I like to think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it makes sense.” Sometimes I wish I could skip a few chapters in life, or read some later chapters. I think we can all agree that sometimes we feel unsettled for one reason or another. I had gone out to an event at a local bar called Taco Tuesday with my sister and a friend. We got gin and tonics, and talked about various things…as well as ate tacos of course. It was a fairly early night and definitely one that brought up more questions than answers. I needed comfort, so when I got home I went down to my beer fridge, and grabbed the Pumpkin Ale I will be discussing as well as some other beers for the road. I saddled up my bouncing dog on his 12 ft long leash and we set out for the short three minute walk to the beach. I made sure to take the appropriate pictures for today’s blog as well as jot down some necessary notes on appearance and aroma. Before I set off down the road, my familiar and well worn Sperry’s hugging my feet.
You may be wondering why I am giving you all this background information…I have a point, I promise. It is my sincere belief that in order to truly enjoy a good beer that three things must come together, first of all the people you are with, secondly the beer itself must have potential, and lastly; your location. Naturally you can have a fantastic beer in a horrible setting and still appreciate it. But imagine yourself in your favorite location, with your favorite people (or with no one at all if you prefer as I did tonight)…how could that tasting go wrong? Wouldn’t the scenery of something that already makes you happy or people that fill you with comfort and joy make the beer that much better? I sincerely think that it does. Tonight with the wind blowing (howling really), the waves crashing white caps resembling the frothy creamy head on my pumpkin ale, and the solitude I had longed for lately…I appreciated a decent beer more than a I would have sitting at my dining room table. Part of the reason I love beer is what it can do for people. It can make that lonely person who has just moved to a new city, branch out and make new friends. It can rekindle a flame of conversation between relatives that maybe died with an old feud years ago. In my case, it can revitalize your belief that simplicity and finding joy in something that costs a $1.75 is a blessing and not something to be ashamed of. It also helps me endure these chapters of my life that I would rather skip and remember that all of life is precious.
As I was walking around my local stomping ground looking for an appropriate beer to write on, I came across a pumpkin ale brewed by Buffalo Bill’s Brewery. It caught my eye because the labeling is very similar to a tangerine beer that I like very much, brewed by this same company. Buffalo Bill’s is a brewery out of California that was actually established in 1983, its website is under construction but I found their Facebook page to be adequate. There is a video on the page, to which I have posted a link below, which explains the brewing process for this ale. They use malted barley and freshly roasted pumpkin in the mash, but did not really give a nod to any other flavors. It poured out a deep copper color, later while drinking it I found it to be mildly carbonated and it quickly lost a lot of that which was surprising. While the head appeared to be cream in color it was rather frothy and dissipated within minutes.
In the Pumpkin Ale you can definitely taste the pumpkin flavor and I suppose it also has a malted, roasty after taste to it. I would not be totally forth coming if I did not admit that the bitterness somewhat cancels out those more important qualities in the after taste. I am partial to beers that are not super heavy, mostly because of where I live which is probably a reason why I like this breweries beer. None of them are overtly heavy and as I said previously I enjoy their Tangerine beer. I would give this beer a 3 out of 5 pints overall but a 2 out of 5 where just the pumpkin category is concerned. If you are going to have a pumpkin beer there are much better beers to sample. I do not find this beer a bad choice in general, but if you are looking for a true pumpkin ale worth spending the $7.00 your local place would probably charge you on tap…I would suggest something else.
Hopefully you got something out of this week, I know it takes some wind out of the sails when I review a beer that only gets two or three pints but that is just how I operate. Every beer deserves a fair shot! In the words of a friend of mine, “Lemons are bitter on their own, but if you add vodka or use them to accentuate a beers flavor you just might be able to pull something good out of them.”
To Pour: This is actually a pretty temperamental beer. I got a little carried away and had to wait a few minutes for the enormous amount of frothy head to go down. This is an ale so it is traditionally served in a mug or pint glass.