Monday, November 17, 2008

Pumpkin flavor time, all the time

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Fall is my favorite season. There's new TV, colorful foliage, a smell in the air of freshly ruled notebooks, and various and sundry pumpkin-flavored food products appear at stores and coffee shops near you. Also, I get to wear a jaunty scarf and nobody looks askance at it.

Back to the pumpkin stuff. When I was in Bar Harbor recently, I had a Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, a beer so goddam delicious you can't believe it. It was like drinking a beer pumpkin pie, which is what I yelled in the restaurant to my wife sitting two feet in front of me: "IT'S LIKE DRINKING A BEER PUMPKIN PIE!" I'm not kidding. There was nutmeg and cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice all mixed up and baked in. I detected the floury, toasty flavor of homemade crust in there, for chrissakes. Bringing the glass to my nose was like opening the stove on Thanksgiving. I wanted to handle the glass with oven mitts and leave it on the windowsill to cool. That beer was so fucking good, in fact, that a fruit fly landed in the glass when I was halfway through and started doing the dog-paddle. I was angry but couldn't hold it against the little son of a bitch. I would've done the same thing.

I've been trying to get some Shipyard Pumpkinhead in the area ever since then, with no luck. There's just none around. My wife couldn't even get an Asian woman at a Swansea liquor store to comprehend out the word "Shipyard." ("Sheep-yee?" "No, Ship-YARD." "Sleep-hard?" "Ship-Yarrr-Duh." "Shee-wee?") Tipsters e-mail if you can hook me up. If you can get me a case, you can keep two of the beers. And then we'll share a beer together, on you. So you get one. Still a good deal.

I've been sampling a couple other pumpkin beers, but none are as good as the Shipyard. I've had Blue Moon's Harvest Moon, which looked promising because it had illustrations of pumpkins on the label. When I tasted it, it was good, but about as pumpkinny as your average Octoberfest beer -- which is to say, not really. Then I had Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale, which is also OK but it doesn't knock you out with pumpkin flavor. Considering the label features a scarecrow with a pumpkin head standing in a pumpkin field, I expected a little more pumpkinness. But no. Just sort of a vague taste of nutmeg -- like you're drinking a beer in the same room as a pumpkin pie. Which is good, don't get me wrong -- it's just not as pumpkin-intensive as a sturdy man like me requires.

Maybe I expect too much. I want everything to taste like pumpkin. Not only that, but I want things to taste a lot like pumpkin. I may be like a junkie, except with pumpkin, so I can't get my fix unless I'm jacking straight-up pumpkin pie filling. I'm also addicted to the Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, the little pukes. The other day, at Target, I took three bags of Archer Farms pumpkin pie spice ground coffee off the shelf before I started to feel a bit conspicuous and only bought two. Worst story: In my second year at college, my roommate and I saved spare change for months in a jar, cashed it in for big bills around the middle of November, and bought four whole 10-inch pumpkin pies. We kept them in a mini-fridge and ate nothing but the pumpkin pies for days. There were crust crumbs in the carpet for the rest of the semester.

Last year around this time, I remember Silk making little quart cartons of pumpkin-flavored soymilk. I would fold that into my pumpkin-flavored coffee and sit and drink it and, while I was copy editing badly written news, the double-shot of pumpkinny goodness would soak into my brain and I would pretend I was sitting in front of a warm and hearty fire in an easy chair with my wife and I under goosedown blankets reading leather-bound volumes of Dickens, having just eaten some of that same goose, while snow fell outside and there was a constant jingling of sleigh bells from somewhere, possibly some sort of machine I'd rigged together from an old motor, a wire hanger, and a set of sleigh bells. Long story short, I can't find that pumpkin soymilk around lately.

Why is the pumpkin flavored stuff only around for a few goddam months, anyway? I'd like the taste of pumpkin even in the sweltering heat of summer, believe me. I can handle it. You think I can't? You think I'll get sick of it? A man who eats nothing but pumpkin pie for several days will not get sick of the pumpkin flavor. Trust me. We ate four pies, but if we'd only had more money and less dignity we would have bought more. If I could receive all my necessary nutritional requirements from just pumpkin pie, I'd eat only pumpkin pie starting today. Come to think of it, there's got to be a way to do this, to get your protein and vitamins and minerals in pumpkin pie form. Get on this, scientists.

And food manufacturers: I can handle pumpkin flavor all year, not just the fucking autumn. Beer manufacturers: I can take it. Give me pumpkin flavored beer the whole year round. That's what I want for Christmas. But well before Christmas, please.

And then afterward.


Justin said...

We saw pumpkin spice soy milk on the shelves at a Whole Foods near Portland. Portland, OR that is... I would imagine that is something they can ship cross country though.

Running After 3 said...

You know - the Shipyard Brewery is only 2 hours from you guys. A sweet Sunday drive for brunch & a beer.

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