Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Six Pack of Spooky Beer

Remember when Halloween was all about tricks and candy treats? Me neither. Halloween is all about beer. At least that’s how it works in the malfunctioning minds of people like us. It’s another opportunity to gather a friend or two and sink a few. And the beers you’re drinking ought to be in keeping with the spirit of the season; demons, corpses, lycanthropy, the annihilation of the human race... that kind of happy crap. With that in mind, here’s a six-pack of Halloweenish beers that’ll look good in your hand as you stand at the door dropping candy into the sacks of little monsters begging for sugar. You can latch onto all of these right here in Oshkosh (think Festival Foods). Here we go:

Hop Devil Ale by Victory Brewing Company
The label features a hop cone morphed into a devil’s head. How metal is that? And it’s good beer, too! A classic East Coast IPA, this has a solid punch of American hops riding on a fat bed of chewy malt. Before the Californiafication of the IPA, this is what craft IPAs used to taste like. At 6.7% ABV, it’ll be good for inspiring some devilment.

Headless Man Amber Alt by Tyranena Brewing Company
This continent has been producing headless-man myths for as long as people with heads have been stomping around on it. Take part in the creepy myths by guzzling some of this. It’s a fine German-style alt beer with a generous caramel malt flavor accompanied by a gentle noble hop aroma. Easy drinking and smooth with enough substance to keep you interested, this is an excellent beer for fall.

Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales
A no brainer. The label features a skeleton sitting on a beer barrel with a mug full of beer in his boney hand. This is supposed to be a Maibock, but they’ve fermented it with an ale yeast, so they’re kind of missing the mark. Still, it’s pretty decent. A malt forward beer with a fair amount of sweetness that’s put in check by a slow building bitterness in the finish. Here’s the scary part: At Festival they sell six-pack of this for $10.99. Yikes!

Newcastle Werewolf by Heineken
Halloween has always been a time for hucksters and gimmickry and this one is right in line with that. More importantly, it has a knuckle-dragging werewolf on the label. For some beers it’s easier to look good than taste good. This is something like an Irish Red Ale, but lacking just about everything that makes that style enjoyable. OK, it may be shit, but it’ll look good in your mitt. Save this for the end of the night when your swilling them right out of the bottle.

Ambergeddon by Ale Asylum
An erie looking label with prominent skull and cross-pistols. Pairs well with death metal blasting from blown speakers. About the beer: an American Red Ale hopped to the gills with new-world hops that crush the palate. Pretty enjoyable, if that’s your bag. Not exactly a subtle beer, but then again Armageddon has never been about finesse. After a few of these, you won’t be either. This one carries a very sneaky 6.8% ABV.

25th Anniversary Imperial Pumpkin Lager by Lakefront Brewery
I guess there has to be a pumpkin beer in here somewhere. Personally, I could do without, but this one is better than most and just fine in limited quantities. It starts with a warm, brandy booziness followed by a hit of toasty malt and a dose of pumpkin pie spicing. A super dry finish, that keeps it from being sickening in the way that only pumpkin beers can be. Who cares? You won’t after a couple of these. At 8% ABV, look upon it as a challenge.

There you have it, six beers to keep you quenched during the season of demons. One last thing, it’s proper Halloween etiquette have your index and little fingers outstretched into the Sign of the Horns as you grasp your beer. You want to do this right, don’t you?

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