Freaks, Geeks and Weirdos - and not to mention some Totally Hot Babes - all united yesterday for a fun filled elbow to elbow beer-breath-a-thon in Cambridge, Mass, known as LineFest! Uhhh, I mean PumpkinFest. Well, it was LineFest for anyone who got there after 2:30 PM, as the small venue was jam f'n packed with thirsty hipsters and pumpkin-lovin' nerdlings alike! Everybody was in the pumpkin pool. A couple of times I even stood in line for a few minutes, only to realize that it wasn't even a line. What in the fuck is that? Just a bunch of people standing around near a line that's so bombarded by other lines that it's nothing short of a rabid zombie horde. There were lines everywhere man. People were getting felt up... warm, wet breath hit the back of necks... boobs were grazed... crotches were pressed upon unsuspecting
And did I mention totally hot babes? Well, there were some pretty hot babes there. One girl looked like Mary Jane's slightly thicker sister. She was wearing a hello kitty shirt and was by far the hottest chick at the place (I fell instantly in lust)... she was Gourd-gous! And there were quite a few ladies there in ultra-tight leather and pleather and spandex outfits as Bayonetta, Black Widow and Baroness. OK, they were all Black Widow. Or trying to be. Whatever. The point is they were hot, and babes too. There was also a guy in a low budget homemade old-school Captain America outfit that really looked the part, so well done on him. Oh, and the girl in the red cloak that works there was really jacking my lantern. If you know what I
Also, I don't know if there were really so many hipsters there, or if they were just dressed up that way for the costume party? Hey, is everyone utilizing Belgian Yeast in their beer now? I thought my tongue was playing tricks on me, but apparently not. I rinsed out my cup each time before getting my next beers, but I could still taste that Belgian Yeast! I thought I didn't clean the cup well enough, but in fact it was because nearly every beer I drank at the place has it in it. What gives? Anyways, I got there at 12:30, a half hour before the doors opened, and ended up being in the middle of a huge ass line down and around the block. The last half of my stay at the establishment, people weren't being allowed to enter until someone else left. So that sucks for them... I guess? But I read that you gotta go either early or late to these things so, yeah. Since I like to get my drinking out of the way early
hot babes beers:
Brewed by The Bruery, in Placentia, CA. USA.
4 fl. oz. / 1 Ticket / 10% ABV
About: "Brewed with 17 lbs. of yams per barrel (in other words, a lot of yams!), this Autumn Seasonal is a different take on the “Pumpkin” beer style. Brewed with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Vanilla, Molasses, and Maple Syrup, and fermented with our traditional Belgian Yeast strain, this bold and spicy beer is perfect on a cold autumn evening."
Thoughts: Autumn Maple. Alright. Oh, The Bruery. Sweet. This looks to be a good beer to start with. Autumn Maple poured a thick and cloudy burnt orange color with a small white bubbly head.
It's a light smelling ale, toasty, very lightly spiced.... I'm getting loads of Belgian Yeast. There's a little bit of cinnamon lingering about, and a real subtle blend of spices. For a 10%, I expected more of a scent on this one, not one so mild.
It's very tasty. There's a harsh booze sting on the first sip, and I guess that's where that strength was. I'm really trying to get that maple syrup here, it's what I want to taste. Feel is about a medium and it's a bit fizzy. There's a sticky quality to this beer, and I guess that's the maple syrup coming into play, but it's not really all too evident in the taste itself. I guess I should expect that by now though. However, the beer is very pleasant tasting, and has a classic type taste for the Autumn season. Gotta love those yams! And it's strong, which is always a plus.
2. Hill Farmstead Autumn Saison - Belgian Farmhouse Ale (2012?)
Brewed by Hill Farmstead Brewery, in Greensboro, VT. USA.
Brewed by Hill Farmstead Brewery, in Greensboro, VT. USA.
4 fl. oz. / 1 Ticket / 5.5% ABV
About: "Shaun Hill's 1'st Pumpkin Beer, brewed in collaboration with Jackie O's Brewing Co. and Grassroots Brewing after years of goading from Will Myers. A simple malt bill provides an orange hue. Ben's Pumpkins from Snug Valley Farm provided the requisite squash. The goal: A complex Belgian style pumpkin ale with little to no spicing."
Thoughts: This beer is a very light orange color, especially light compared to the rest actually, but it's still a pretty orange. Kinda murky too. The head was tiny and not condensed at all.
There's a lot of malt in the scent, and it's very straightforward. An underlying Belgian yeast comes up from the back, but overall everything here seems pretty light.
The taste is pretty damn sour. It's very mushy tasting. It gets slightly peppery once that yeast kicks in, and once all the flavors mingle together the beer gets more of a fruity tone about it. Still pretty sour though.
Mouth is light and that sour tone brings on the puckering.
Brewed by Stewart's Brewing Company, in Bear, DE. USA.
4 fl. oz. / 1 Ticket / 5.5% ABV
About: "Many innocent pumpkins met a gruesome fate so that you sadistic people could have your annual spiced treat. We hope you're happy! Straight from the mind of the ‘Beer Admiral’ himself. Head Brewer Rick Hoffman presents a ‘traditional’ spiced pumpkin ale. Rick added over 10 lbs of pumpkin per barrel. Brewed with a touch of Maize for softness, and to fit the harvest spirit. Spiced with a custom blend of whole botanicals including Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Cloves and Nutmeg."
Thoughts: Mischief Night. What a cool name huh? This one poured a reddish-orange with a minimal haze to it. One of the filtered offering of the venue perhaps. The head was pretty frothy, yet faded quickly.
This beer smells really sweet. Kind of like spiced apples, or strawberry syrup! Really cool.
The taste is unique. It's rich and malty, but with a weird kind of tang to it. Not bad at all. It's sweet, spicy and has a a mild sourness to it that creeps up on you.
It's pretty frothy. I'm sure the corn brings it back from being a total malt bomb, but the more you sip this one the sweeter it gets. Is that cloying sweetness? It's a very interesting brew, that's for sure.
4. Elysian Headless Horsey - Pumpkin Brett Beer (2011/2012?)
Brewed by Elysian Brewing Company, in Seattle, WA. USA.
8 fl. oz. / 4 Tickets / 6.7% ABV / SPECIAL TAPPING: 2 PM!
About: "100% Brettanomyces-fermented Pumpkin Ale brewed with Pale and Wheat malts and unmalted wheat. With some time to age, it has become more of an elegant thoroughbred than drayhorse. The inspiration for this beer? They thought of the name first, and knew they had to brew it." What the hell kind of description is that?
Thoughts: Headless Horsey poured a super cloudy auburn orange hue with no head whatsoever, which was weird.
And speaking of weird, this one smells weird as shit too! It's very tart, kinda like pineapple juice. Pineapple juice... and funk. Yeah. Not incredibly pleasant.
The taste is a sour pineapple hit to the mouth. Whew! This is a strange ass beer, man. I'm not really diggin' it all too much. And by the looks of things, the people that just got this brew before me aren't really into it either. There's a lot of strange WTF faces around and some not too flattering banter on this one.
This is the funkiest one so far. Like watered down juice with a double extra tart thrown in, and a touch of funk.
4 fl. oz. / 2 Tickets / 8.5% ABV
About: "2011 Strong Scotch Ale with Pumpkins and local barley. Our Valley Girl series of local-ingredient-beers gets ghoulish with barley grown and malted in MA from our Valley Malt BSA. Super rich malt character presides over Pumpkin, Brown Sugar, Molasses, and Heather Flowers in the finish. Subtle, like a swift kick in the kilt. Adding pumpkins was a seasonal no-brainer, and a last-minute addition of heather flowers contributes subtle, delicate floral notes to this robust, malty beer. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!"
Thoughts: Valley Ghoul poured a dark and gloomy raspberry red / orangy brown color and was very hazy. The head was small due to the pour but lasted a long while.
This smells Awesome! Wait, what the hell... bubblegum just came rushing in. Oh, and loads of booze! It's flowery, and well, just an insane mix of things going on. This is like a Bride of Frankenbeer.
The taste is hard caramel, molasses, and literally tons of brown sugar. This is some serious malt. It's intense. Very sweet, a little peppery, and then those Heather Flowers come in again and it's bubblegum booze.
There's a bit too much bubblegum for my liking, but I did enjoy the hell out of this one while it lasted. And I'm sure there's a market for a beer like this. A weird market.
6. Cambridge Brewing Kraftwerk - Belgian Tripel brewed with Pumpkins and Aged in White Wine Barrels (2011)
4 fl. oz. / 2 Tickets / 9.75% ABV
About: "Kraftwerk is brewed in the style of a Belgian strong ale known as Tripel, but to it we have added hundreds of pounds of pumpkin, along with a very subtle addition of assorted autumnal spices. After a very warm fermentation with our house Belgian ale yeast, Kraftwerk was sent to the CBC Barrel Cellar to age for several months in Sauvignon Blanc barrels where the beer transmogrified into a striking beverage like no other. The result is a classic version of a traditional Tripel, with subtle pumpkin flavors, and notes of oak and a white wine-like finish. The combination of esters from fermentation, barrel aging, and lingering wine character has created a beer with crazy fruitiness, a super dry and sparkling body, and a grape/stone fruit/tropical finish. Simply unlike any pumpkin beer you've ever had."
Thoughts: Werk poured a lighter yellowy orange color with a fluffed white top. The beer is of course quite hazy.
Scent is on the lighter side of things, but really interesting and inviting. It's fruity, and you get a big presence of that white wine. It's pretty cool. Smells a bit like fruit cocktail after a while. Nice.
This tastes excellent! You really get that mix of the oak and white wine straight away. There's a lot of ripe pear, mild squash, and a ton of fruitiness. The spices have all but been lost in the mix, and you wouldn't immediately think of this as a "pumpkin beer", but that flavor is still inherent to the beer. Only muted. Overall though this is a really interesting beer, it has some intriguing layers of taste and it's just "delightful".
7. Cambridge Brewing Fire and Brimstone - Cask-conditioned Ale with Chipotle Peppers and Cacao Nibs (2012)
4 fl. oz. / 2 Tickets / 6.66% ABV
About: "S.A.T.D cask-conditioned with Ancho, Chipotle, and Habanero Peppers, plus Cinnamon Sticks, Cacao Nibs, and Dried Pumpkin Flakes. Rich, chocolaty, smokey and maybe a little hot. You have no one but yourself to blame!"
Thoughts: Yeah, I suppose after that I may as well hit up the beer with the Habaneros in it. Why the hell not wreck the palate after that whimsical brew above.
This beer is dark. It smells harsh. There's tons of chilies in this. A smile, comes to my face.
That's hot. Not only is this beer just spicy as all hell on the first gulp, but it's got a creeper quality about it too, because halfway through that burn is just rushing in and doesn't let up. There's a nice mingling of flavors going on here. The chocolate really takes a backseat to the peppery flavor and the smoke, and for that I am thankful.
Fire and Brimstone is super tasty, has a slight tartness to it, is rich, malty and brings the heat. Did I taste the dried pumpkin flakes? Nah... but whatever.
8. Elysian The Gourdfather - Pumpkin Barleywine (2012)
4 fl. oz. / 2 Tickets / 11.2% ABV
About: "The Gourdfather is a Pumpkin Barleywine you can’t refuse, mellowing with age but still reminding you who’s boss. A veritable pushcart of malt bill brings Pale, Munich, Cara-hell, Cara-vienne, C-15 Crystal and Pumpkin Seeds up against a rival neighborhood armed with Magnum hops. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."
Thoughts: Gourdfather poured an auburn red, honey like color with a foamy white head atop.
This smells like red wine. Ah, memories. There's a super strong barley flow to this one, but at the same time the hops and seeds give off this weird otherworldly type scent to it. It smells slightly acidic and maybe a little bitter. It's pretty cool.
The taste is unexpectedly more sweet than I had expected. It was a bit of a shock. There's not much of that red wine vibe in the taste, but rather a booming slam from those malts. It's slightly tart, there's a heavy dose of dark fruit, plums especially, and a lot of sweetness. After a while some caramel notes start to come out and it gets a little twang from that fruitiness and the hops.
Despite being so heavy and rich, this is some easy drinking.
Brewed by Iron Hill Brewery, in West Chester, PA. USA.
4 fl. oz. / 2 Tickets / 9.5% ABV
About: "This extra strong spicy Belgian Pumpkin Ale is truly a beer from the farm. It is unfiltered with a beautiful burnt orange color. Ichabod’s nose is filled with flavors of the harvest including Clove, Allspice, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. The palette is sweet with hints of Roasted Pumpkin, and Caramel. There is a warming finish that is both fruity and aromatic. Over 6 pounds of pumpkin per barrel were added right to the mash. Drink enough and you’ll lose your head too!"
Thoughts: This beer poured a semi-dark auburn haze that's blood orange in color. The head was extremely minimal.
I'm picking up scents of light bubblegum (again!?), toasty malt, a little bit of booze. The spices are light, and aside from that roasted tone to it, it seems pretty mild.
Well, it tastes a bit rubbery. It's malty and the spices are indeed light. Not really too interesting of a beer. It's kind of got this burnt embers mixed with old He-Man toys going on. I've tasted beers with similar problems, and this one isn't too offensive in that area, but it's there. This beer is very boozy, but it's also pretty meh.
Mouth on this one is slightly drying, but I have been ingesting good dose of cinnamon throughout the day. Not to mention that oak. But the drying is just starting to hit after this one particularly so take that into consideration.
10. Stewart's Brewing Gourdzilla - Pumpkin Ale (2012)
8 fl. oz. / 4 Tickets / 8.666% ABV / SPECIAL TAPPING: 4 PM!
About: "This Monstrous Pumpkin Ale is brewed with Radioactive Pumpkins grown at a secret location in the South Pacific, and fermented with Genetically Modified yeast. Gourdzilla is sure to please even the most finicky pumpkin zombies, and still have time to lay waste to Tokyo in its spare time."
Thoughts: Radioactive Pumpkins huh?
Gourdzilla poured a honey gold with orange tones, and featured a frothy light beige head on top. This one's got the biggest head out of all the beers so far. Huh. Must be that "Genetically Modified Yeast"!
The smell starts off with a "traditional" Imperial Pumpkin Ale style scent, which is promising since none of the other beers so far have had this. Spices are present, but a little light, and I can actually smell the water in this one. It's nice.
The taste is very peppery up front. This one isn't too sweet, not too bitter, and while the taste is rich and savory, it feels a little light. There's no kick to this beer, and that's a bit unfortunate. It's the closest thing to tasting pumpkin out of this lineup though, and it's still pretty good.
I guess everything in some way will always be compared to Pumking. If this one had a longer linger to it and a spicier kick, it could very well compete.
12 fl. oz. / 3 Tickets / 6.75% ABV
About: "300 pounds of Grey Ghost heirloom pumpkins from Sylvan Nursery flavor this strong version of a traditional Belgian White Ale, along with Orange Peel, Coriander, and Grains of Paradise. Freshly chopped and shredded, the pumpkin is added to a mash of Pilsner and wheat malt, raw wheat, and flaked oats and fermented with our house Belgian yeast."
Thoughts: Ghost poured a light gold, yellowy orange color. It's slightly hazy and the white head left a ring around the top of the brew for a long while.
The scent is sweet and tart, and of course that Belgian yeast is making an appearance. There's some mild zest and a gentle flow of spice to this one.
The taste, just like the last beer and many other pumpkin beers, is peppery at first. This one has got a heavy taste to it though from that mash. It's also very fruity on the tongue... that orange peel really brings some nice citrusy tones to the brew, and there's almost like a lemon lime thing going on. The wheat and grey ghost pumpkins really blend well and I think adding coriander was a nice choice.
It's slightly watery, and goes down smooth.
To me, most of these beers are more of an experiment in brewing rather than what's normally classified as a "Pumpkin Ale". These are like "Ale with Pumpkin in it" instead. Of course, I didn't try anything that I have already tasted before when I went to this event. They had Pumking, DFH Punkin, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumkin, Heavy Seas and a slew of others. I forgot to try Wormtown's offerings, but I'm not going to cry over it. What I really wanted to try was the Ultra-Rare Allagash Ghoulschip (a Barrel Aged Sour Pumpkin Ale brewed on Halloween night 2008 and aged in oak!), but they were tapping that at 8 PM and I wasn't going to stay that long. They tapped the Avery Rumpkin about forty-five minutes after I left as well, but I just drank that a few days ago.
I had a real mellow time at this extremely festive event. The overly large Pumpkin Ravioli was a really sweet and good tasting dish, though I should have saved some cash and ate a Sausage with Pumpkin Mustard outside. And it would have been a lot more comfortable it I wasn't rushed off of my table, but they've got time limits set up so I don't really give a fuck. Plus it was hot in there. It was just the hovering that bugged me. I also would have liked the Pint Glass to have the pumpkin design from their previous logo above. It looks a lot more sinister with that jagged mouth. Will I ever go to another one of these? Probably. Will I do reviews? Not sure. I would of loved to have drank tons of Pumking on tap and chased it with Rumpkin, but hey, I like trying the new shit. Maybe next time. Hopefully there will be more Totally Hot Babes for me to