This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.
I have a marital obligation to actively seek out respectable lists of quality pumpkin beers this time of the year. Last week, I found one that was filled with many of the expected brews (it’s never a surprise any time Dogfish tops a list), but I was stunned by the brewery that took up the number three slot. Maybe I’ve been smarting from the fact that my beloved college town brewery couldn’t compete in a recent incursion into my current “Beer City” community, but it was still a great surprise to find the Stevens Point Brewery listed among–and above!–several craft beer titans. Luckily, the appearance of the list nicely coincided with an trip north by a household member, so we had a few bottles of Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale in our fridge just days after we first heard of it. Interestingly, I was first struck by the way the labeling of the beer seemed to be trying hard to distance it from any immediate association with Point (the purchasers reported they actually had a tricky time finding it in the liquor store because they were looking for the familiar Point logo), which is apparently true of every one of the brews in the Whole Hog specialty line. Whatever attempts may be made to slyly disguise the beer’s origins, it is damn good and fully deserving of its high place on the list that led us to it. The first taste is pure pumpkin pie, even with a touch of the added sweetness that implies. From there, it shifts slowly and subtly into a earthier, delectable beer flavor with every sip. Back when Point Brewery was a key support to me earning my undergraduate degree (or maybe it was an agreeable obstacle, now that I think about it), I never thought to hope for anything from the brewery except for Point Specials and, deep in the winter when there was a special need for it, a hearty, hefty Bock. More than any of their other specialty beers, the Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale makes me excited to see (or, rather, taste) what else they can do. I was a little worried that they were going to get lost in the craft beer revolution. Now I think they may be able to keep pace after all.
—21st Amendment Bitter American
—Abita Restoration Pale Ale
—Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
—Samuel Adams Boston Lager
—New Glarus Brewing Company Wisconsin Belgian Red
—ABA Hoppy Saison
—Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager
—Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow
—French Broad Brewing Gateway Kolsch
—Big Boss Brewing “High Monkey”