3 years ago, a small group of intrepid beer nuts embarked on an epic failure of a mission to spread the love of pumpkin beer. This adventure had the best of intentions and was announced with clarity of purpose – enjoying all that is pumpkin.
At the time, I was living in St. Louis and my brother in San Diego. I had a trip planned to visit sunny SoCal in October. Leading up to it, both of us bragged about the superiority of gourd based beers in our adopted cities. So, we decided to put it to a test. For about a month, we both stocked up on as many versions of this polarizing beer style as possible. We went WAY overboard.
On arrival to the airport I was thrilled to see my liquid luggage had survived unscathed. On arrival to my brother’s place, I was shocked, awed and maybe a little nervous at the hilarious quantity of brews he had gathered. His lovely wife Erin had sent out an invitation encouraging folks to come on by for a celebration of Fall – pumpkin style. There would be pumpkin cheese, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie haircutted freaks and of course, a SHIT LOAD of pumpkiny beer.
The turnout was good, maybe 20 people and no shortage of self-proclaimed beer nerds. A core group of certified pumpkin beer nerds – myself, Tyler, my best friend Dave and local brewing legend Anthony of Burgeon Beer fame – had a strategic discussion on how to move forward with our cinnamon infused tasting session. It was agreed that the best course of action was “Open them all up!” Looking back on this tipping point of madness, it’s possible we got slightly over excited considering we suddenly had 2 dozen bottles and bombers of carbonated squash that had be consumed. Mistakes were made.
As the notes of nutmeg, pumpkin pie and beer filled the air, there was a subtle shift in the assembled crowd. A shift away from the assembled bottles. Suddenly the ladies were clutching bottles of wine and murmurs of “Oh, well, I’m not really a huge fan of pumpkin beer” filled the room. Realizing the gravity of our error, the 4 of us buckled down and got to work. Suffice it to say, we didn’t come close to completing our mission. I can still feel the sensation of extreme overkill on pumpkin spiced beer coursing through my body. Meat sweats are a common ailment I suffer from. But twitching at the aromas of spiced beer in the air was something new to me. We made a valiant effort but in the end, we were left with no choice but to pour out too many ounces of precious orange brew.
Why all the back story? Because I have finally recovered from my spiced pumpkin overload and revisited the style with an epic Bottle Logic brew. The Spice Must Flow is an 11.8% barrel aged pumpkin ale made with fresh pumpkin, a host of spices and conditioned on vanilla and coffee beans. It’s one of the best of this style I’ve ever had. On this visit to my brother in San Diego, I learned he and Erin had made the drive to Anaheim JUST so I could try this beer. Seems reasonable. And well worth it. Though we toned down the pumpkin madness a bit, we did enjoy this bomber with pumpkin ice cream sandwiches from Whole Foods for dessert. Oh man, so good. I almost grabbed the leftovers to run for the hills. And gorge on it all by myself. If you find this beer, don’t cellar it, just dive in. This is not a beer you want to wait to taste.