Got Beer? The Ghost of Sam Adams Returns

I was sitting in my favorite little beer dispensary, reading a well-loved Edgar Allen Poe compilation, when I looked up and somehow everything changed. While it was a New England summer when I walked it, it suddenly turned to fall. I was just about to hop up to the bar and examine the Oktoberfest selection when I saw, instead, the various pumpkin-adorned tap handles.

My stomach churned with waves of gastrointestinal PTSD.

“No … no, it can’t be. Please, no … where are my Marzens?!” But none were to be found. I wept, for there were no more lagers to conquer.

I felt the cold, staticky tapping on my shoulder. I turned around to see my old supernatural frenemy, the Spirit of Samuel Adams, and I knew my day of reckoning was at hand.

“No, please,” I said desperately. “Not again!! I can’t take it! Every single year, it’s the same damned thing! Please, just give me my Paulaner and leave me in peace!”

“Nay,” said the spirit. “For thou have yet to try my newest pumpkin spice creation.”

“Yes,” I retorted. “And therefore I have nothing negative to say about it! Great Caesar’s ghost, I just can’t do these damned pumpkin beers anymore!”

“Incorrect spirit my friend, first of all, and second, you must try these beers. For is it not your lot in life to select, sample and discuss in great detail with colorful metaphor and artful simile?”

“Listen, you translucent, ectoplasmic fool, I just can’t do it. Besides, I’ve already tried your pumpkin beers and even reviewed them in the past.”

“There be a new one.”

“That’s it! I’m getting my proton pack!”

“Nay, friend,” he said, ‘gently encouraging me’ through some flying cutlery to take a seat at the bar. “Stay, and do thy duty.”

“I’ll do my duty all over this bar if you make me drink one more syrupy or over-spicy beer. Pumpkin beers are terrible! They’re almost never brewed in the right style, and they stick around in the fridge until Christmas.”

The spirit recoiled at my words and stared at me with empty, angry eyes.

“Explain thyself!” it demanded.

I sighed, knowing this was not going to go well. So I pulled my courage together and gently explained to the ranting wraith exactly what the problem is.

“Listen,” I said. “Pumpkin beers are almost always brewed in what styles? Wheat beers or amber ales, right? Those are almost exactly the wrong styles to brew them in! Just in concept, don’t stouts and porters make more sense?”

“Verily,” agreed the ghost. “But darker beers hath not the mass market appeal.”

“Says you,” I shot back. “And what about using pumpkin very lightly so the flavor comes through very subtly, then just a touch of some earthy hops? Maybe a touch of roasted grains? Doesn’t that sound delicious? A little roasty chocolate-coffee with the pumpkin flavor? And if you must add spice, keeping the flavor short and sweet will round the beer out without overpowering the palate. Best part, no syrupy flavor.”

“True,” said ol’ Sam, but he didn’t seem ready to concede the point. “However, we cannot alienate the primary fan base of the established style.”

“Ah,” I said. “White college girls?”

“White college girls,” agreed the spirit.

“Okay … but as a favor to the rest of us, could you, basically leader of the pack if you’ll excuse the pun, try to do something creative with pumpkins next time around?”

“I am not beholden to thee!” screeched the spirit. “See if I allow any Utopia to fall into your hands again, foul heathen!”

And with that, the spirit was gone. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove fell from the ceiling, coating me in a fine spicy mist that made me gag and sneeze. Though I know the bicentennial spirit hasn’t left me completely, I’m happy enough to go home, shower off and remind myself that Oktoberfest is very soon and console myself for now with a hearty stout.

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