Entries tagged with “Pumpkin Beer”.


The first time we sat down with our friends the Bacon Terrorist and Boozy Betty to rate pumpkin beers, they were still something of a novelty to us.  We gathered 13, largely the most widely available brands, and we had no trouble crowning Southern Tier’s Pumking the winner.  What a difference three years make…

Since then, it’s become much easier to locate all kinds of small-batch labels around the area.  And it seems like almost every brewer out there has jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon.  Out in Seattle last weekend, Elysian Brewing Company hosted their “Great Pumpkin Beer Festival,” where they sampled 60 pumpkin beers – including 13 different offerings of their own!

We knew it was time to sit down and revisit our ratings.  Would Pumking reign uncontested?  Or would one of the new crop rise to claim the throne?

To find out, we gathered as many different pumpkin beers as we could over the span of a month.  Many of our finds came from Total Wine & More in Alexandria (where almost every beer they sell is available in singles as well as six-packs) and Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, though a few others were collected here and there along the way.  We also found a second pair of willing tasters, our friends KentuckyFrench and the Yankee Sipper.

A rundown of all the competitors with tasting notes after the jump. (more…)

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Pumpkin CapsAs we mentioned yesterday, one of our favorite signs that fall has arrived is the appearance of pumpkin beers.  We love the rich, spicy flavors of pumpkin ales (and in some cases stouts).  It’s like a crisp autumn breeze, a smooth beer and a slice of pie come together in every sip.  And their seasonal nature makes us appreciate them while they last; when they’re out, that’s it until next year.

But which one to drink?  With such a brief window of opportunity, can you afford to waste your time on a six-pack of bad pumpkin ale?  We think not.  So in the name of science (and better drinking), we called up the Bacon Terrorist and Boozy Betty and invited them over for a night of taste-testing.  They had proven their palates with us in last year’s cupcake showdown, and Boozy Betty’s knowledge of beers has come in handy on numerous nights out.

ContendersTo pick the contenders, we turned to BeerAdvocate’s list of pumpkin ales.  We decided to seek out as many of the beers on the list as we were able.  To keep costs in check, we limited our sample to those beers we could find available for single purchase (again: who wants to waste their time and money on a six-pack of bad pumpkin ale?).  A trio of trips to Total Wine in western Alexandria, Calvert-Woodley Liquors in Van Ness, and Trader Joe’s in Old Town yielded thirteen choices in all.

We rated each beer on Presentation, Flavor and Overall, using a scale of 1-5 for each.  Once all of our scores were tallied, we averaged our four ratings and added the three categories together to give each contender a score between 1 and 15.  At the suggestion of the Bacon Terrorist, we also rated each beer’s label art  and averaged those scores independently.

Once we were done, we had a whole lot of numbers, a dump bucket full of also-rans, and a decent nutmeg-spiced buzz.  Check out our assessment of each contender (in order from lowest total score to highest) after the jump. (more…)

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Forget sweaters and changing leaves. Here are ten telltale signs we know it’s fall in DC. Cupcake Challenge 051

1.       Dinner switches from gazpacho to roasted chicken

2.       Mike gets reacquainted with the Big Green Egg

3.       After a summer of crabs at Quarterdeck and Tangier Island, our go-to seafood is oysters at Johnny’s Half Shell and mussels at Granville Moore’s.

4.       Elizabeth starts baking again

5.       Pumpkin beer!

6.       We’re on the hunt for savory recipes starring leeks and butternut squash

7.       We say good-bye to the basil lemontini and hello to the warm duck Rueben at the Poste bar

8.       Too many local apples, not enough apple recipes

Apple Cake 0349.       Kiss the sunglasses good-bye. We go from al fresco dining to cozy lounges and tea houses.

10.    Fall colors bring road trips and local discoveries like Wasmund’s single malt applewood smoked whiskey.

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Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn, but here at Capital Spice we’ve been celebrating the season for more than a week already.  For us, the true harbinger of fall can’t be found on a calendar – we watch the shelves of our local grocery stores for it.  And once it arrives, we do our best to get our fill before it disappears for another year.

That magical fall-mark?  Pumpkin beer.  If you’ve never tasted one, try to call up memories of pumpkin pie with its thick, sweet taste and its rich, spicy aroma.  Now take that memory and pour it into a 12 oz. beer bottle, and you’ve got this delicious fall beverage.  Think of it as drinking seasonally – Barbara Kingsolver would be proud!

Recommendations and details after the jump.

(more…)

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