It is that time of year once again. Strolling down the beer aisle, one six pack next to the next six they are lined up down the row. Pumpkin Ales! Every year I pick up a dozen or so to taste and write about and every year more appear, but follow the same formula. Sure some may stand out more than others and you might have a second one by that brewery, but my palate just gets too tired. The better name for these beers would be pumpkin pie beers. Malty, but too sweet and pumpkin pie spiced, I mean a little sliver of pumpkin pie is enough as long as there is plenty of whipped cream to tame the cinnamon and allspice.
Have I given up completely on pumpkin ales? Just about, but there is one that sticks out that I have purchased to sip and review again. Virginia’s Blue Mountain Brewery’s, “Spooky.” Far from being liquid pumpkin pie, Spooky is a rich reddish brown ale with a nice tan head. Allowed to ferment in Bourbon barrels after being brewed with pumpkin puree and cocoa nibs, Spooky gains a complex aroma of what makes Bourbon special, vanilla, burnt sugar, along with some clove and allspice and a touch of toasted oak.
With all of these flavors going on the Spooky is sweet, but Halloween is meant for sweet treats. Since it comes in a 25 oz. bomber it is perfect to share with a friend and a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream. So if you are going to have one pumpkin beer this Halloween make it a Blue Mountain Brewery, Spooky, Arrington, VA, 8.2% abv.