31 October 2008

Bewitched, badgered and bewildered

In Newry last weekend I was surprised to find that the only customer in Sainsbury's with a northern accent was me, just off the train from Dublin. I only had time for a quick raid on the small-but-decent decent beer selection which I'll be working my way through over the next few weeks.

Last year at Halloween I drank Wychwood's Pumpking, which Adeptus had picked up for me on a Sainsbury's raid of his own. Tonight I'm sitting down with a beer several bloggers had said was even better: Badger Pumpkin Ale by Hall & Woodhouse. It pours a surprisingly pale limpid orange, forming a loose head of big bubbles that quickly vanished. That on its own wasn't enough to put me in mind of Irn Bru, but the initial taste certainly did: big fizz and sweet artificial fruit were my first impressions. After letting it settle on the palate for a moment there are autumnal apple and cinnamon spices coming through, and even vaguely medicinal, herbal notes. "Vaguely" is the watchword, however: overall I found this beer quite thin and bland. Where Pumpking had a full-bodied strong ale at its heart, this doesn't really have much beyond the fruit, spice and fizz, and the novelty wears off far too quickly.

But I'm not letting it bother me. I'm off to carve pumpkins instead.

Samhain shona daoibh to all Beer Nut readers.


  1. Samhain shona duit freisin!

    As I recall, I quite liked the last Pumpking Ale I had that time too.

    I really wanted to carve up a pumpkin this year and then make my own pumpkin beer, but bizarrely we weren't able to find a regular pumpkin. Tonnes of those ugly ornamental gourds though. No Halloween special beer for me so, but there is a Halloween party organised by some chaps at work that I may slip out to, even though it'll probably be a Becks Bier nightmare like the last one.

  2. Of course you wouldn't like it...

  3. Yeah, there was a major pumpkin shortage here too, so we ended up with beige gourds as well.

    It's not that I didn't like it, Boak, it was just a bit bland. I always think that if you're going to put unusual ingredients in beer they should really stand out. I'm not one for subtlety, really.

  4. i do find Badger's ales all taste a little...artificial? hard to explain, but I know what i mean...and yes, it is thin. Very thin.

  5. Jonathan6:36 pm

    Oh dear, I rather enjoyed it. Seemed rather wheat beer-ish to me.

  6. I have yet to try a pumpkin ale. Actually, I've yet to try a pumpkin. Perhaps I should do that first.

    My wife did very efficiently gut and carve one during the week though. Superquinn were knocking them out for a quid each last week.