Blue Mountain Barrel House, Spooky, Arrington, Virginia, 8.2% abv. Is light brown in the glass with a tan head. Spooky forgoes the pumpkin pie spices; instead it was brewed with pureed pumpkin and cocoa nibs and aged in charred bourbon barrels. The nose is tinged with roasted malt, and pumpkin and vanilla and caramel from the bourbon barrels. The cocoa is in the background towards the back end of the nose. The palate pretty much follows the direction of the nose. The finish is medium but leaves you wanting more.
The Blue Mountain Spooky is unique because the brewer takes a different approach to his pumpkin ale. He isn’t trying to make pumpkin pie in a glass. I imagine Spooky is closer to the original pumpkin ales that brewers in the colonies produced to a lack of barley, which led them to the plentiful pumpkin for its sugar source for fermenting their beers. On the label the brewer does indicate that he brews Spooky with remembrances of Halloween as a kid with a “bucket full of candy bars.” He adds cocoa nibs and ages the brew in bourbon barrels to recreate the flavors of Halloween, with an adult twist.
I must admit that when I tried the Spooky last year I was somewhat underwhelmed, but I am a fan now. I would enjoy this with some barbeque sitting outside of the brewery overlooking the hilly Virginia countryside. Blue Mountain is a great brewery to visit, located north of Richmond among Virginia wineries, Blue Mountain Brewery is a must visit, and their restaurant makes some tasty food as well to pair with their beers and their views