A year ago, around Thanksgiving, I got it in my head I wanted to try as many of the pumpkin beers at the BC Liquor Store as I could. After scouring the aisles, I took about five bottles up to the counter, feeling both pleased and a little over indulgent with so many beers on the counter before me.
What a difference about 346 days makes.
Have you been in a government liquor store lately? It’s like the Great Pumpkin went on some sort of bender. Orange everywhere. From Seattle to St-Ambroise, every craft brewery worth its stock is getting into the gourd game. Even Anheuser-Busch’s craft beer knockoff brand Shock Top had its own pumpkin wheat offering. I bet we’re two years away at most from Bud Light Pumpkin.
So far this year, even though I’m only buying B.C. beers, I’ve amassed a collection of nine different brews, and been promised still more to come. With so many bottles and so little time before winter sets in, what’s a humble beer reviewer to do but make them fight to the death?
Thus, I present Bad Rider’s first ever Pumpkin Madness Bracket. Every week, we’ll be pitting two brews against each other to see what combination of spice, squash and hops you should be cuddling up to during your annual leaf peeping trek.
Each brew will get a couple rankings: Spiciness, actual pumpkin flavour (potentially a dicey category, given how many pumpkin spice products contain no pumpkin at all, but we’ll give it a go) and overall performance. Based on past experience, the best pumpkin beers balance both spice and gourd, but with some dark horses in this year’s line up who knows what we’ll find.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, your first round matchups (so far):
Steamworks Pumpkin Ale versus ????*
Who will emerge victorious? Who will be crushed like a rotten Jack o’lantern on November 1st?
The challenge begins next week..
*So far Kamloops only seems to have 9 B.C. pumpkin beers stocked in the entire city. While Bad Rider has several plans in the works, for now challenger 10 must remain a mystery of its own.