Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stinker Alert! Buffalo Bill's Bad Batch! (Sorry)

The Jury’s In.

This year’s batch of Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is a stinker. At least the Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale that was shipped to the Phoenix, Arizona market is a stinker.

I picked up a single of BBPA at the local Total Wine store on Saturday (not wanting to blow the dough for a full six pack in case my suspicions were confirmed) and on Sunday, I popped the top, and poured the contents to find a sour smelling, floater infested glass of tangy pumpkin ale, not at all in a league with their previous year’s efforts.

So for the 2010 historical record: A six pack of Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale purchased at Cost Plus was found to be sour smelling and tasting with intermittent flaky, paper-like floaters. A random single of Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale purchased at Total Wine was found to be sour smelling and tasting with small speck-like floaters.

Sorry Buffalo Bill. See you next year.

On a Positive Note.

In my quest for a single bottle of BBPA, I snagged a single of Lakefront Brewing’s Pumpkin Lager, remembering how enjoyed their pumpkin offering last year in Denver and a single of Abita Brewing’s Pecan Harvest (and some others) remembering with fondness a bunch of Shiner Holiday Cheer’s that I’ve enjoyed. (You remember that one from Texas that’s brewed with pecans and peaches…ah, delicious.)

I first enjoyed Lake Front’s Pumpkin Lager at a little Mexican restaurant on the west side of Denver almost a year ago exactly. The upside then was that they were having a special on this one and I originally recalled that it was on draft, but the more I think about it, the more I begin to recall that it was served in bottles. My brother-in-law was even coaxed into trying one and enjoyed it, I believe. I enjoyed it so much that when I returned from the Denver trip (last year’s Denver trip, not to be confused with this year’s Denver trip), I eagerly hunted the shelves of the local booze outlets hoping to find more, but to no avail.

Imagine my thrill at finding Lake Front Pumpkin Lager at Total Wine this past weekend. I don’t know if it was simply setting and circumstance, but my notes this time don’t measure up to that initial sampling. Here are the two separate entries.
October 7, 2009
More spice than pumpkin. Very good spiced pumpkin taste. Enjoyed as a prelude to getting my ass kicked at pool
(Did I mention that my brother-in-law is an accomplished pool player?)
October 17, 2010
Cloudy bronze. Weak head. Slightly sour smelling but with noticeable pumpkin smell. Vaguely sour, not especially spicy. Not as good as I recall it from Denver a year ago.

Indeed. I believe the October 2009 sample was all the more tasty because of the pleasant company of my brother-in-law. Setting and circumstance, people.

The notes for Pecan Harvest are certainly more hopeful than for BBPA this year and even as compared to the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager:
Copper colored with a thin head. Good – not like anything I can think of. Nutty roasted tasting – a bit rich and probably not something you’d want to drink a bunch of.

No, not a bunch, but just right if two or three is your goal for an afternoon under a tree in the back yard.

That’s it. I’ve got a busy rest of the week and a busy weekend coming up, then, this time next week I’ll be preparing for a two-day jaunt up to Flagstaff on work-related business and I’m hoping to visit Mogollon Brewing during my free time on Friday. (See them at http://www.mogbrew.com/)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Bad, Better and Best of Fall Seasonals (So Far)

Did Buffalo Bill lay an egg this year?
I’m beginning to wonder. The six pack my daughter picked up for me at the local Cost Plus store tastes a bit sour and at least one of the bottles had some unusual floaters in it. In the interest of fairness, I’ll procure a single or two at the local Total Wine and do a comparison. Is it possible that Cost Plus got the remains of last year’s batch?

On a brighter note.
Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler seasonal is at least a bit better than sour pumpkin ale. My notebook for this offering reads thus:
Definitely brown. Weak head. Has kind of a corny lager smell. A bit sour and pretty weak.

I've come to expect more from the scientists at SN Brewing and this one just doesn't measure up, I'm afraid. I'll continue to look for their Torpedo (for example) instead.

Best of the batch.
I recall first sampling New Belgium’s Hoptober on tap at the Baker Street Pub near my sister’s place outside Denver last year. It was good, though I recall being surprised because I’d expected a somewhat darker, marzen or Oktoberfest style beer, when in fact this one was just a nice, straight up hoppy, light-colored ale.
Well, this years offering (in bottles this time) is no surprise and certainly no disappointment. The notes on this one:
Pours like a pilsener – straw yellow with a white head. Strong hop notes in the smell at first. Citrus/orange taste up front. Dry. Active beading. Medium-heavy lacing. Good – better than Tumbler.

"Better than Tumbler," indeed. (Sometimes this blog damned near writes itself.) Hoptober will be one I'll stock up on and enjoy for Thanksgiving - it's never too early to consider the holiday's, is it. (At right is a shot of the Hoptober from Denver 2009)

We’re heading into the best part of the year for beer lovers, people. Brace yourself. Pace yourself!

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