“Tapping the Keg” is a weekly review of craft beers brought to you by campus correspondent Dan Wood.
This seasonal brew comes to us from a bit further away this time. Based in Cincinnati, the Traveler Beer Company was bought out by the Boston Beer Company, owners and operators of Samuel Adams, in an attempt to broaden their targets for alcoholic beverage sales in the last few years. They also bought the Angry Orchard Cider Company during that time, for the same reason.
The Boston Beer Company is considered by most to be one of the big macro brewery companies. This beer is not exactly what you would call a “craft beer” or a “micro brew,” implying that it is a limited run of a small batch of beer made by newcomers. The Boston Beer Company identifies the profit made by craft breweries, so like the other macro brewers, they seek to assimilate smaller breweries by hiding behind a different look or brewing style.
This faux craft brew is very enticing to its target audience. The beer is a seasonal run, and has a uniquely eye-catching packaging, with a smiling jack o lantern on the front sporting a hipster-trendy, handlebar moustache made of the pumpkin’s vine. This pumpkin beer is also not a traditional style of brewing for this time of year. It is a pumpkin shandy. Shandys are typically wheat beers brewed with lemon and or lemon juice, and are light, sweet and somewhat refreshing, making them ideal in the summer. Calling a shandy seasonal when lemons are not in season is kind of shooting itself in the foot, defeating the purpose behind the seasonal food movement.
Jack-O-Traveler is a cloudy red-amber color with very thin head retention and a violent carbonation to it, slightly reminiscent of a soft drink at first. The nose gives strong flavors of baked pumpkin bread and lemon juice. The top of this beer is very much like the nose, acidic but still sweet and refreshing, with pie spice shining though. The medium body of this beer reveals a deeper complexity of nutty, roasted pumpkin and hints of butter. It finishes with a mildly warming and bready aftertaste on the tongue.
This beer is not incredibly complex or deep in its flavors. It has what you would expect from a shandy: a bready and citrus flavor, with additional hints of pumpkin and spice. I find that the acidic and floral notes from the lemon clash a bit, with the nutty pumpkin flavors present here.
With an ABV of 4.4 and a very sweet, sugary taste, those who prefer soda to beer would most likely enjoy this shandy, serving as a pleasant middle ground for those who are not very involved in the beer world. This beer would pair well with any desert that highlights our favorite winter squash, as well as any dish that is heavy in fat or spices, because it has the power to cut through and refresh the palate.
This beer is available locally at Price Chopper as part of the pick six deal or as a stand-alone six-pack for about $10.
Overall Rating 3/10
Dan Wood is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org