A Fall Trio

Another beautiful rainy, gray day – perfect for some fall beers. I just happened to have a trio of them in the fridge, and one in particular called out to me.

I love the labels on Shipyard Brewing Company’s Pumpkinhead, but you’ll have to be a big fan of boldly spiced beers to enjoy the contents as much as the graphics. The spices are too heavy-handed for me. They completely overpower the pumpkin flavor, which is there, but as a sickly presence pinned somewhere under the layers of just too much spice.

After the visit to the Spice Islands, I needed something lighter, and I had just the thing, an Oktoberfest from Erdinger, the Bavarian Weiss brewery. Yes, a Weiss Oktoberfest.

It pours out a beautiful cloudy orange with a big-bubbled white head. Take a big whiff of the bready aroma and then dive into this bright, lively Oktoberfest. Its effervescent liveliness comes from being refermented in the bottle, which is true of all Erdinger’s wheat beers.

Caramelized barley is used to give this Oktoberfest Weiss the traditional orangey color of Oktoberfest (although, as I mentioned previously, German Oktoberfests are golden-colored these days – the coppery colored Oktoberfests are for export only).

For fans of Weiss and Oktoberfest, it is the best of both worlds. For those weirdoes who don’t like Weiss beers, I’d say, c’mon, give this one a chance. It just might change your mind about Weiss (a good DunkelWeiss could do the same, but we’ll save that for another day, perhaps a cold winter day).

I ended my beery fall reverie with another beer that grabbed me with its graphics – Ichabod Pumpkin Ale from the New Holland (Mich.) Brewing Co. Ichabod, of course, refers to Ichabod Crane, the lanky human scarecrow featured in Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” However, the image on the label is not of Ichabod Crane, who Irving describes exceedingly well, but of the headless “Hessian” who scared Ichabod out of Sleepy Hollow.

I always felt for poor Ichabod, who, Irving tells us after introducing the “ripe and melting” Katrina Van Tassel, “had a soft and foolish heart toward the sex.” I toast his foolishness with this very nice pumpkin ale.

The key word here is ale. The brewers at New Holland put the ale forward and the pumpkin and affiliated spices in the background, where they really ought to be. This is an extremely quaffable pumpkin ale to be had in what Irving called “the sumptuous time of autumn.”