Soaking up the suds with James Crane

Go ahead, step outside. Put up your ear to the wind, and you’ll hear it. Your skin very well might tingle in anticipation, as if something you’ve waited for is creeping ever nearer. It like an old friend, or perhaps a lover from a past life coming to call you home. It’s comfortable like a warm blanket or an old pair of shoes.
All the same, it’s bigger than you. It’s bigger than all of us. It’s ancient and looming, promising to be here long after we’re gone. You know it deep in your bones. Its presence is undeniable; its force is irresistible. When it comes calling, you will succumb, perhaps with trepidation, but ultimately, it’ll carry you away into its cosmic bliss.
We’re approaching pumpkin event horizon.
OK, so maybe it’s not that big of a deal. Really, I’m just still excited for my pumpkin beers. While drinking enough of them might give you glimpses of the vast cosmic bliss I just spoke of, having one or two still makes me pretty happy. I know the naysayers will find 1,000 reasons we aren’t supposed to be fans of pumpkin beers, but come on. They never did anything to you. There is no reason to hate on them so much.
If you read my last column, you’ll realize I’m on a little bit of a pumpkin beer streak. Stoudts Pumpkinfest kicked off the party in my mouth. This week, it continues with Alewerks Pumpkin Ale. It was fun to drink with the last beer still so fresh in my mind. While they were both pumpkin beers, there was a good deal of difference between them. For starters, Stoudts was a lager, while Alewerks is an ale. It didn’t end with the yeast, however.
The brew poured a lovely, murky shade somewhere between amber and orange. It wasn’t just the color that was reminiscent of pumpkin flesh, either. The scent definitely carried a good deal of malt and spice. Pumpkin also was quite prevalent as well. And I don’t just mean the seasonings usually associated with the gourd. It smelled just like fresh roasted pumpkin, or the unadulterated puree right out of the can. Alewerks must have used a good amount of it to get that scent.
The taste confirmed that suspicion. Pumpkin was in no way an afterthought. It led from the front, proudly displaying its vegetable nature. This expertly paired with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and sugar. These ingredients were used in proper proportion, the spices serving to enhance the pumpkin as opposed to covering it up. There also were slightly sour notes as well as vanilla and caramel, though the caramel was not a prevalent as it was in the Pumpkinfest.
The taste did a great job at covering up its 7.4 percent ABV. This brew certainly was a little bit stronger than it let on. Another great side effect of using real pumpkin was its body. The puree gave it a great velvety feel that made it quite pleasing to drink. Alewerks Pumpkin might have been the most pumpkiny pumpkin beer I’ve ever had the pleasure to drink. While it didn’t bring about cosmic-level happiness, it did lead to soft contentment tinged with glee. If that sounds like the type of thing you’re into, grab yourself this beer. It’s the best advice I have to give.

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