Sean Lightholder’s Pumpkin Ale’s: Guest Post No. 5


Fourth up in the line of 2014 pumpkin beer is Saranacs offering.
Immediately noticeable on the shelf in a squat, moonshiner-jug bottle, Saranacs wide-mouth screw cap reminded me of inadvisable malt liquor decisions as a very young man. Forlornly rotating the plain, over-sized pumpkin-graphic label 180 degrees on the shelf revealed no information about the brewery or the beer. Saranac may be one of the oldest operating breweries over on the east coast, but this left-coast enthusiast had never seen one of their beers for sale before. If the bottle was any indication, Saranac doesnt care to put any effort into a distinctive beerodd, for a brewery going down the pumpkin brew route.

If the slap a pumpkin on it and it will sell message of the packaging wasnt encouraging, the creative genius that went into naming this beer was truly dispiriting:  our Pumpkin Ale reads the small lettering under the pumpkin picture and uppercase SARANAC lettering. Lucky for Saranac, my mission to try all the pumpkin beer offerings brought the bottle down from the shelf and into my shopping basket.

Unluckily for me, as it turned out. Twisting off the Snapple-style cap a waft of lemony defect crept from the glass as I poured. To help it along, mass-produced stale beer smell quickly joined forces with the odor and my reluctant tongue was confronted with a profoundly mediocre attempt at a pumpkin beer: almost indiscernible spicing accompanied strong tannins across my palate, sucking all moisture from my mouth and scurrying down my throat with a gasp of sour walnut. Unfortunately, a few fellow enthusiasts were with me trying this beer and one of them muttered, might as well crack a Hamms.

Which I took great offense to, my grandfather being a retired master brewer at Hamms. However mundane, Hamms is far more drinkable than Saranacs our pumpkin ale.

This beer would be perfect for replacing with petrol during desperate revolutionary times; the moonshiner jug body is both capacitous and the small handle on the neck makes it perfect for flinging into enemy lines.

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