I kind of stayed away from reviewing pumpkin beers this year and let Kristie take over that. I’ve learned the hard way that drinking pumpkin beer too often makes me tire of them, and they are something I love so moderation is key, and there’s only so many ways one can compare a beer to a pumpkin pie, and the market is so saturated that I decided to instead focus on marzens and fests and leave my pumpkin cravings for the annual Cambridge Brewing Company Great Pumpkin Festival. Now that I’ve had time to gather my thoughts and decompress from a busy week at work, I pulled together a little recap.
This was our second time going, and it was better than the first time before it even started. This year we pulled together Mad Men secretary outfits, anticipated the 3+ hour wait starting early in the morning to get in, and we didn’t have to do the wait in an unexpected snowstorm like we did last time. Long lines leave time for deep conversations about mortality, free will, and even more intriguing questions like, “Will there be bratwurst again?” and “Should we get split a 4oz pour of the 18% abv Rumpkin?”
The festival is well worth the wait when it’s not below freezing and snowing. There are so many breweries unveiling special beers made just for the festival with alcohol contents ending in .666, or some of my favorite pumpkins that sold out before I had a chance to get to the store. I’d say these beers each offered the most memorable taste experience:
Cambridge Brewing Co. Fire and Brimstone, 6.66% ABV, smells like Abuelita hot choclate mix. It starts out tasting like a typical dark beer- then all of the sudden you taste the habaneros, chocolate, and and pumpkin. The beer has a creamy mouthfeel, and coats every surface and the spices make your gums tingle. I wish I bought some of this to take home, I don’t even know if they were selling growlers of it, but if they do, I now have a regret. A big regret that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Wormtown / Sunset Pumpkin Bread Beer, 6.6% ABV, smelt like bread. I know people describe beer as having a bready scent, but this beer straight up smelt like pumpkin bread that just came out of the oven. It poured cloudy with hints of nutmeg and molasses, and tastes just like bread. The beer had a biscuity aftertaste, which is fitting since it had such a strong malt base and was brewed to taste like bread. My friends who were with me even said it tasted like pumpkin bread before I told them what it was supposed to taste like. Definitely a great take on pumpkin beer, and something I’d love to drink more of.
Avery Bewing Co. Rumpkin, 18% ABV. I’m writing about this one because it’s 18%, and was one of the limited special tappings. I don’t think I’ve had an 18% beer, I think the highest I’ve had was 16% at the prior years pumpkin fest. This beer is aged in Gosling’s rum barrels. It’s got a heady and fruity smell (“gourdy”), and tastes sweet initially-molasses for sure. Then it gets slightly sour, and there’s a warming sensation- probably due to the 18%- but no strong taste of alcohol. It has a sticky finish, and because I’m small I am really glad it was limited to a 4oz pour, despite my initial chagrin.