Schlafly Pumpkin Ale 8.0% ABV
I’ve sampled this particular brew a few times in preparation for this review. I have learned from my own experiments that the best possible way to enjoy this beer is on tap from a snifter glass. Yes that’s right, the same glass type that is primarily reserved for brandy or cognac. The use of a snifter glass allows for the best experience of (PPA*) the volatiles of the beer, the compounds of beer that evaporate to create its aroma. The use of the snifter glass also allows the beer to breathe which greatly enhances the flavor of the brew.
I tried this beer for the first time at Bailey’s Range in downtown St. Louis. They served it up in a snifter glass from tap and I was overwhelmed by the rich and complex flavor, the authentic pumpkin taste and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Every sip was a pleasure fest for my taste buds and the perfect companion to one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had the privilege to devour. If you are in need of a great burger and your choice of an extensive selection of local beers on tap, you will not regret going to Bailey’s Range.
I tried this wonderful brew again at a bar in Springfield. It was served up in the usual 12oz beer glass and it failed to live up to its potential. I then bought a 6 pack, as I sought to recapture the experience of my first time with this brew. I should have known better, but in my haste I drank one straight from the bottle and of course was let down yet again. What was I doing wrong, why wasn’t this beer as good as I knew it could be? I thought back and came to the conclusion that the glass must have something to do with it. I drove around to a couple of stores searching in vain for a snifter glass. Without a snifter glass how was I going to enjoy this beer the way it was meant to be experienced? After looking at the options at hand in the cupboard, my eyes landed on an over-sized wine glass. It had the same basic shape of the snifter glass, the only difference was the stem was longer and the bowl of the glass was a bit bigger. Out of desperation I gave it a try. There it was, there was the flavor, there was the delight that I had remembered from my virginal taste. With that I realized that the type of glass really did matter with certain beers, especially with this one.
This pumpkin ale blows away the competition. It is the richest most satisfying of the pumpkin ales I have reviewed. What was most shocking to me was the 8% ABV. I couldn’t believe a beer this tasty had such a high alcohol content. As I stated before, this beer goes surprising well with a meal and also is great completely on its own. It makes for a wonderful after meal drink or as a simple sipping beverage to enjoy while reading a book. I would urge you to try this if you see it on tap and it’s worth picking up a 6 pack even at the high premium price of $10-12. Considering the shallow imitators are only a couple bucks cheaper, why settle for less when you can get the best.
*PPA stands for Pretentious Prick Alert. This acronym will appear before the use of highfalutin words that make it look like I know what I’m talking about, when in actuality I have no clue what I’m talking about.