Gift Series Part II: Experience It

This is Part II of our 4 Part Gift series

Have a craft beer lover in your life and don’t know what to get them or want to do something other than the random beer trinket? These gift ideas are ways for you to get out there and immerse yourself craft beer. Ways to meet other people, try new breweries, and make the experience memorable.

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139. CBC Great Pumpkin Festival 2013

Pumpkin monks

Pumpkin monks

This past weekend was the sixth annual Great Pumpkin Festival at Cambridge Brewing Company – a place where autumnphiles can come together and have a pumpkin beer without the ubiquitous cinnamon-sugar rim nor the sneers from the general craft beer public. This was our third year in attendance, and in our opinion, the most successful event yet. In the past, the festival operated on a one-in/one-out policy, resulting in a line, usually on the first cold day of October, that left you cursing yourself for wearing a dress and cursing all those terrible terrible people who agreed to hold their friend’s place in line while they went into Tommy Doyles to stay warm doing pumpkin bomb shots. There is a special circle of Hell for line-cutters, I’m sure of it.

Our costumes - Daria & Jane

You’re standing on my neck – Daria and Jane are skeptical of waiting in line to drink beer

This year, the event was divided into three four-hour sessions throughout the day, which got rid of the wait time and made things much more comfortable and accessible inside the restaurant. We chose the last session so we could witness the event we’ve missed years past, a monk-led procession leading to the tapping of a giant pumpkin filled with CBC’s Great Pumpkin Ale.

All Hail the Great Pumpkin

All Hail the Great Pumpkin

This is a great place to experience interpretations of pumpkin beer you’ve never imagined. But truth be told, at least for me, it’s about pretzel rolls with beer mustard and pumpkin ale braised sauerkraut and hanging out with robots. Oh, and commemorative glassware.

bender

Here’s some of my evening’s most memorable beers:

CBC Stout at the Devil – 666# of pale malt, 6.66 oz. of Devil’s Claw herb, a 6.66% ABV – how can you not love this devilish beer? Plus add to the fact that this is their 2011 version that has been aging on Brettanomyces barrels. “It’s all for you, CBC!” ~*Jumps off balcony*~

Jack’s Abby Pumpkin Crop Lager – A perfect blend of autumnal spices mixed with locally sourced pumpkins makes for a crisp lager with a well-done pumpkin profile without any of the sugary sweetness.

Iron Hill Pumpkin Berliner Weisse – Tons of candied pumpkin and sugar cookies with some tart lemon characteristics. Very interesting and enjoyable.

Avery Rumpkin – Ahhh the venerable Rumpkin; aged in fresh rum barrels and clocking in at a monstrous 18%. Yes, it’s totally overwhelming and like taking a shot of pumpkin pie rum, but it’s still complex, sweet, and good to try once.

100. CBC Heather Ale

CBC Heather Ale

CBC Heather Ale

Post 100. I feel like something big should be happening right now. I even went so far as to Google “songs for epic moments” but was greeted with a sea of Styx and Jock Jamz. But then I remembered the Manowar song posted below, it’s about mead and this post is about an ancient herbed ale based on an age-old Northern Europe and Scandinavian recipe.

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9. CBC pumpkin ale fest

Total Electric Wizard weather the day of this fest. Dismal, damp, bleak, and an hour plus line just to get inside because of the one-in, one-out policy. If the girl who was dressed up as a French stereotype reads this, we wanted to find you and bludgeon you with your baguette once we got inside because you thought it was, “oh so clever” to have your man-friend stand in line, while you and your horde of ladyfriends sat inside a nearby pub, nice and warm, until you all flocked to join him when he was up at the admission table. Seriously, all of the cutters were these kids in elementary school:

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2. Cambridge Brewing Co. The Great Pumpkin Ale

It’s fall, and for me that means it’s time to indulge in everything pumpkin. Yes, I’m one of those girls, and if you just. don’t. understand., then you are just one of those guys who probably feels that merely donning a mask is an appropriate Halloween costume.  To me, pumpkin ales fit right in with a crisp New England fall as much as foliage or black cats. They go back hundreds of years, when the cool air made pumpkins more readily available than other beer-making ingredients. It just makes sense, and people who are obsessed with fall are far more tolerable, than say, people who go overboard for spring. Trust me on that.

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