Seasonal beers can feel a little gimmicky sometimes. But that’s part of the fun of the changing weather — new beers to try! Sam Adams usually has his colonial brewer’s finger on the pulse of the seasonal beer market. This time of year you’ll find Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Octoberfest lining the beer aisles, beckoning customers to sample the autumnal merriment waiting inside each bottle.
On a recent visit to the charming seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut, I tasted my first (of many, no doubt) pumpkin beer of the season. Honestly, I judged this beer by its label — does the same credo for book covers apply in this sense? I fell for the not-so-subtle reference to Washington Irving and his ghostly tale. I have a feeling that the headless horseman might have chilled out if someone had just handed him a pumpkin ale.
An ice cold beer is a welcome respite on a sweltering summer day, but the magic of an autumnal beer lies in the way the warm flavor notes are complemented by the chill in the air. The Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale had a delightful hint of harvest without being too overpowering. Take advantage of all the specialty beers this season has to offer. An autumnal beer has a way of making you feel like you’re a visitor in Mr. Irving’s own time — clutching a frosted stein of pumpkin ale can warm you to the core and fill you with the courage to brave any headless horsemen you might encounter.