I attended my Grandmother’s funeral this week in Effingham, IL. (Best city name ever. Ben Folds wrote a hilarious song about it. Say “Effingham” frustrated or disappointed a couple times. It never gets old.) Don’t worry, however, this isn’t going to be a melancholy post. I deal with death by pretending it didn’t happen and trying to be funny. It’s healthy. Look it up.
Grandma Probst was cool. In fact, the consensus amongst everyone in attendance was that she rarely had it easy in life; but she was unflinchingly devoted and resolute, and she never complained. In fact, I think beerbecue could stand to be a little more like her.
After the wake, we did what every big Catholic family should do: Drink. I didn’t have time to hit up an Effingham beer store, but my brother brought 2 nice bottles of wine, and an aunt had procured pizza, wine, and plenty of Coors and Miller Lite. Did I complain about the lack of craft beer? No. I am now devoted, resolute, and stoic.
So, I drank. Then, looking to diversify while my brother and I were plowing through his second bottle of wine, I discovered this wonder of modern engineering in the cooler:
Oh, dear God. My only past qualm with canned Miller Lite was that it took too long to drink. Problem solved. It tastes just like Miller Lite, only faster. And now that I’m more devoted, resolute, and stoic, I will say that getting the shotgun hole open was a fun challenge and provided my hands with some much needed strength training.
Later in the evening, one cousin pulled out some New Belgium Somersault and was kind enough to share. This is a very good beer. Spicy, floral, and herbal hop character. Refreshing. I am underwhelmed by a lot of New Belgium beers, but I really liked this one.
The next day, after the funeral and almost all the way back to the St. Louis airport, the Haybag called to tell me that my flight had been delayed 2 hours. Did I complain? No. Devotedly, resolutely, and stoically, I dialed in the coordinates for Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood.
Once inside, the sweet and pleasant aroma of brewing surrounded me, and I saw they had their Pumpkin Ale on tap. Of course, I have previously ranted about the too early release of pumpkin beers, but that was before I was devoted, resolute, and stoic in the face of hardship. So, I ordered one, and I was quickly reminded why their pumpkin beer is hands-down the best.
At times, it’s reminiscent of a spiced cider, but there is no mistaking its pumpkin pie flavor. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, all backed by some caramel and a nice Munich malt sweetness. It’s like a rich, sweet, spicy pumpkin pie. This is THE pumpkin beer. And unless someone can convince me otherwise, this is the only pumpkin beer I will be getting this year.
My one suggestion would be to let it warm up a tiny bit. When it’s cold, the cloves and some slight bitterness attention whore it up. But as it warms just a little bit, the richness and complexity come out.
The Haybag: Whatever. I still pledge my allegiance to Southern Tier Pumking. And I think the readers should know that I suggested going to Schlafly Bottleworks and figured out the directions. Otherwise, you would have ended up “stoically” sitting at the airport.