We went looking for some scary brews for Halloween. Our selection was based purely on if the beer looked somewhat festive for Halloween. Here’s our scary lineup!
Dead Guy Ale
Our first scary 12 ounce brew comes from Portland, Oregon. It was originally created in the 1990s for a restaurant called Casa U Betcha (surprising that it is in Oregon and not Minnesota with a name like that). The restaurant served it to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead holiday. The label and beer have no relation to the Grateful Dead, but the label looks close enough to Grateful Dead iconography to give one deadly pause.
This ghostly pale ale is 6.6% ABV. The color is actually a strong yellow with a slight haze. This beer was created as a Maibock using more hops and pacman yeast, but it tastes more like a slightly hoppy pale ale. The hops tend to sneak up on you in this beer. There isn’t much hops in the nose or taste, but the aftertaste bitterness lingers.
This beer isn’t a Maibock, there’s too much hoppiness. It is a pale ale using German grains. However it is a light and somewhat refreshing beer. This is a good beer, and might be a great selection for your Halloween, but it won’t “wow” you.
Dead Guy Ale gets 7 bones out of 10.
The next witch brew comes from Wychwood Brewery in Oxforshire, England. We tried the 500ml Hobgoblin Ale in a green bottle. From what we read, the darker bottle is a new item for the beer. This beer was first produced in 1996. The strength is 5.2% ABV.
This beer has a heavy malt scent, even a bit chocolatey. This beer had a much more complex profile than what we were expecting. We could taste a fruitiness in the beer; some berry that we could not place. There were also flavors of coffee and nuts. The aftertaste seemed almost like a stout, but the beer was malty and sweet The aftertaste also had a strong chocolate flavor.
This beer had a very low hop flavor, and was not bitter at all. It reminded us of several local nut brown ales. This is a good English ale.
Hobgoblin Ale gets 8 witch brooms out of 10.
Lakefront Pumpkin Lager
We really didn’t think we could get away with a Halloween review without reviewing a Pumpkin beer. We really didn’t know what to expect. Pumpkin isn’t our favorite flavor, and it seems like a weird choice of fruit for a beer.
At first we could not taste the pumpkin in the beer. It seemed like a sweet light lager. There was no scent to the beer that we could tell. There were other flavors, like a hint of cinnamon. Then the pumpkin flavor creeps up on you.
It really tastes more like a pumpkin pie after about half of the bottle. It just leaps out at you about half way through the glass. There is very little hop flavor in the beer to counter the sweetness. That is by design, because, these fruit beers really should taste like a dessert. The cinnamon was also stronger with each sip.
The beer really was nice as one, but it was too sweet to drink more. It was a good beer to try, but if you get a six pack make sure you have 5 friends with you to share.
The Lakefront Pumpkin Lager gets 7 pumpkins out of 10.
Avery’s The Beast
Our last beer was selected a bit blind, even though the Avery Brewery is very near our place. The label looks scary and we thought that was cool. We did not realize the horror that lies within the bottle until later. Most beers range in alcohol between 4 and 7% ABV. Wines are usually 10-15%. Once you cross the 16% ABV barrier in the USA, alcohol is taxed at a much higher rate – very few fermented beverages that are not fortified or distilled go beyond 15% ABV.
The Beast is 16.42% ABV.
It scared us. For a 12 ounce brew, 16% ABV is quite a bit. A timid sniff of the glass had grassy scents, definite hops, and a strong caramel smell. There were also hints of honey, and some berries. With a great aroma like that, how could we be afraid of this beast?
The taste of the beer is BIG. Scary big. The mouthfeel is very thick, almost like a syrup. The beer was much smoother than we were expecting. At 16.42% ABV, we were expecting jet fuel. There is a slight burn as it goes down, but not a fire. There are strong caramel and vanilla flavors. The hops balance the maltiness quite well.
It would be nice if Avery included the optimal serving temperature and glass. We noticed that the beer was more flavorful as it warmed up a bit. We tested the beer in a goblet.
This is a great beer, but imbibe carefully. If you try to tame too many Beasts, the Beast will tame you. This is definitely a sipping beer on a cold night. It might also make a good beer to cellar for a few years.
The Beast gets 10 sharp teeth out of 10!
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I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!