Soaking Up the Suds with James Crane

Haters gonna hate, am I right?
At some point over the last few years, it’s become cool to talk smack on pumpkin spice. Granted, its proliferation might be a little bit ridiculous (pumpkin spice hand soap, anyone?), but it’s for good reason. Pumpkin spice is delicious. It always has been since the dawn of time and will continue to be so long after all its opponents are in the ground and no one remains to remember their existence. Pumpkin spice perseveres. You do not.
I’m sure there are some of you right now silently mouthing your resistance. At least one is whining about how so many pumpkin products don’t even contain an iota of the orange gourd. To you I say the following: I don’t care. If the pumpkin beer I am drinking contains nothing but malt and old, chewed bubblegum, I don’t care. It’s delicious. I’m going to keep drinking it.
Don’t you take this away from me.
If you haven’t caught on yet, this week I am drinking a pumpkin brew, Stoudts Pumpkinfest Lager. While many pumpkin beers rely solely on the spice mixture to give them that pumpkin pie feel, this one promises real roasted pumpkin in the mix. For anyone who ever made a pumpkin pie from real pumpkin, you know what a time-consuming and labor-intensive project this is. Stoudts must really care about us.
The pour had a beautiful amber color with a copious two fingers’ worth of head sitting on top. It managed to leave lacing down the entirety of the glass. The scent was as pleasant as the sight. There was ample malt in the nose, making this brew reminiscent of the Marzen I drank for my last column. It also had the familiar scent of lager yeast. This paired delightfully with the smell of roasted pumpkin and spices such as clove and cinnamon. Everything was as it should be.
The taste brought forth everything in the scent and then some. It tasted as malty as an Oktoberfest brew, exhibiting the qualities of my favorite type of lager. It was heavy with cereal, and the caramel malt provided the experience of pie crust. This mixed with a good amount of spice, heavier on astringent cloves than sugar. This was a great direction to take, as it gave it pumpkin pie flavor without too much sweetness. The roasted pumpkin also came through, giving the brew its dose of authenticity. A bit of hops in the back end finished it off.
One of the great things about this brew is how drinkable it is. At 4.5 percent ABV, this one could qualify as a session beer. It isn’t going to hit you too terribly hard. Some other pumpkin brews out there tend to be really big in character and very dessert-like. They are great on their own accord, but you don’t want to drink too much of them in one sitting. This one is light enough in body and alcohol content to go down easy for a while.
Look, pumpkin pie is right around the corner. You know you’re waiting for it. If you can suspend your all-so-trendy pumpkin hate, grab a pumpkin brew to hold you over. Stoudts Pumpkinfest, a great mash-up of pumpkin and a Marzen-style lager, is a good choice.

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