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Halloween Hops: There are no boos in brews

Nightmare on Thayer Street can art courtesy of Union Station Brewery.

Halloween is that time of the year when you can dress up in any costume you want and drink craft beer. Hold the candy corn and Tootsie rolls, let’s scare up some grown-up treats. Seasonal beers aren’t around for long, so come taste some pumpkin beer with me!

First up in my treat bag is a pumpkin ale called Nightmare on Thayer Street from Union Station Brewery. This 5.6% ABV ale pours a clear colored copper with a finger width head. The smell of pumpkin and spice follows through to the palate. There’s a hint of dark chocolate and coffee presentn that lingers on the end sip. I could only think of one character that fits this ale: Nancy Thompson from Nightmare on Elm Street who rescued two friends but was stabbed in her sleep by Freddy Kruger. The coffee in this pumpkin ale might have been enough for her to stay awake and avoid the dream lurking Kruger. I don’t suggest switching your morning coffee for this ale, but who am I to judge?

DC Comics character Catwoman is more than a professional burglar. She’s a whip-cracking sexual feline who’s captured the eye and heart of Batman. This femme fatale’s transformation began when she was brought back to life by cats that granted her super powers. Troy City Brewing’s Baker St. is the pumpkin ale that’ll make her purr. It pours a clear amber hue with a thin head and lacing. There’s pumpkin spice and malt on the nose. Flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of pumpkin make this 5.8% ABV ale perfect for Catwoman’s prowl and you may feel like you gained 8 lives after drinking this.


Is there any female vampire more powerful than Akasha, the vampire from Queen of the Damned? Akasha was once an Egyptian Queen whose soul was captured and bound by a powerful spirit. This mother of all fanged immortals would want nothing more than Witch Doctah from Canned Heat Craft Beer Co. This 8.7% ABV Imperial Pumpkin Ale is fit for a queen. It pours a hazy deep amber color with an off-white head. There’s a scent of pumpkin spice on the nose along with sweet caramelized brown sugar. Sweet pumpkin pie spice is dominant on the frontend sip. A slight malt flavor is taken over by a boozy cinnamon and ginger spice that lingers on the tongue and is sure to keep Akasha’s bloodthirst quenched on hops instead.

Justin Holmander, head brewer of Canned Heat, said, “I had sworn off making pumpkin ales personally because I did a homebrew batch every year and always hated how it came out. When I started at Canned Heat, the boss said we were making one. I took another shot at it and it was “meh.” The next week, I brewed a Scotch Ale. It was an idea from the staff beer suggestion box.” Justin explained that a salesman walked by loving the scent and asked if it was a pumpkin ale brewing. This intrigued Justin. “I changed a few things on the Scotch Ale. This is how Witch Doctah was born.”

Everyone knows the story of Medusa – a Gorgon with snakes for hair. When her head was cut off by Perseus, it had the power to turn anyone who looked at it into stone. Imagine having the ability to turn that person who is offensively staring at you into a ceramic figure! I think Medusa would enjoy a pint of Narragansett Brewery’s Gourd Reaper pumpkin ale. This ale has a clear amber-colored pour. Cinnamon and nutmeg flavor the front-end palate with a touch of malt. Medusa would ask to have this 6.2% ABV ale served with a cinnamon sugared rim to allow her forked tongued locks to get a lick. You should, too.

My last piece of candy (aka beer) comes from Vigilant Brewing. I was at the brewery when head brewmaster John Otero was whipping up a batch of pumpkin ale in his cauldron as there’s nothing but magic conjured at Vigilant. I asked John what was behind this seasonal ale and how he would describe the taste. “Our beloved Tower Hill inception came from a deep dive series of conversations between the business partners and significant others.

“At the time, I was not a fan of the [pumpkin ale] trend, and although I was on board, the recipe needed to be unique. And boy is it! With secret spices and ingredients we produced one of my holiday spooky favorites. Tower Hill pours a lovely amber color, reminiscent of fall foliage. Hints of clove, cinnamon, and allspice wake up the scenes for what’s next. At 10% ABV, Tower Hill is malt forward and sends you into a spooky tailspin. For the full experience, enjoy it with a caramel cinnamon sugar rim.” The character I think would enjoy Tower Hill the most is Harley Quinn from DC Comics. Harleen Frances Quinzel ( HQ’s legal name) worked as a psychologist at an asylum in Gotham City, she counseled the Joker, and fell madly in love with him. The Joker forced her to jump into a vat of chemicals to prove her love and loyalty. Their love affair didn’t last long due to the Joker’s narcissistic personality and psychotic behavior. HQ had enough of his disrespect, got her shit together, and got back her self esteem and self-love. Because of her determination to prevail, HQ deserves a Tower Hill. There’s nothing better for a broken heart.

If you think you don’t like pumpkin beer, may I suggest you give a local one a try? Cheers to delicious local beers!