Death, Taxes, and Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale

Next up, Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale, et al.:

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.

With God as my witness, I resolve to drink  free alcohol without complaining!

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:

OMG! It’s the punch top can, patent pending.

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.

Served in a Solo Snifter.

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.

It screams of devotedness, resolutification, and stoicality.

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.

Yes, my pretties, come to Virginia.

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.

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15 thoughts on “Death, Taxes, and Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale

  1. My favorite observation about the Punch Top can gimmick comes from @DHberman…
    “How is this progress? Haven’t the people at Miller ever opened a can of soup before?”

  2. I’m boycotting beerbecue for at least 12 hours for the simply reason that consumed pumpkin beer prior to the leaves turning. Repent!! Repent!! Repent, I say!!

    Seriously sorry for your loss, but just like a good Catholic you celebrated life.

    Cheers!

  3. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, but glad to see you dealt with it in a “healthy” way! Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale is on my radar this year, if I can find me some!

  4. Sorry for your loss. Sounds as though stoicism and some libations got you through it, though. I have to agree with your wife that ST’s Pumking rocks my socks, and for me, it is THE pumpkin beer. At the same time, I have yet to try Schafly’s version. I’m always open-minded when it comes to beer, so they do stand a chance. I’ll have to see if I can track some down, now that we’re nearing the “real” season. 😉

    • Thanks.

      I used to love Pumking, but it all of a sudden started tasting like slightly boozy Kix cereal to me. Now I can’t drink it any more.

      And I would be surprised if you PA folk don’t get Schlafly pumpkin. You bastards seem to get everything else!

  5. The Haybag rocks. I’m sure your Grandma would be proud of both of you. So sorry for your loss but I applaud your ways of coping. (I would keep an eye on Barry these days…was he acquainted with your Grandma?)

    • Thanks. He was not. The Haybag’s gparents gave her Barry. Gma P was too thrifty to buy a stuffed koala bear. She would have made one. Although, Barry has seemed a little down lately…I think he just needs to be restuffed.

      • MAKE a koala bear? OMG, that’s amazing. Especially since koalas are poorly designed, LOL. Even though they’re tree-dwelling, their pouches open downwards. Oops.

    • Thanks. I have been looking forward to that. Although, it looks like there is even more hysteria surrounding Pumking this year…good luck getting your hands on some!

  6. My condolences to you and yours. On the flip side, great post. A few laughs is always the best medicine as the old cliche goes. If they make it out your way, try the Elysian Pumkin beers – Night Owl (their standard), Dark O’ the Moon (pumpkin stout), The Great Pumpkin (Imperial pumpkin beer). They also do a pumpkin pilsner called Hansel and Gretel that’s available in a special edition Pumpkin 4 pack (has all 4). Now if only Sierra Nevada Pale Ale cans came with a punch hole vent top…

    • Thanks. Funny you should say that. The Haybag and I lived in Seattle for a year back in ’04-’05, and the Haybag still talks about their pumpkin beer. It is pretty dang good. We both miss Elysian. Although, PAC Northwest beer might be the only thing the Haybag misses about Seattle. I couldn’t get that sun-starved South Carolina gal out of there fast enough.

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