Tapping the Keg: Roadsmary’s Baby Pumpkin Ale

“Tapping the Keg” is a weekly review of craft beers brought to you by campus correspondent Dan Wood.

(Mike Mozart/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Mike Mozart/Flickr Creative Commons)

Two Roads is one of the most prominent craft breweries in Connecticut to date. In almost every state vendor of beer and other spirits, you’re bound to find one of this brewery’s beers. Located in Stratford, Two Roads has gained a lot of attention and availability in just four years since its founding. I had never seen this brewing company until recently, and now I see several varieties in every bodega and deli in New York City, not to mention all over most east coast grocery stores.

If you are looking for a seasonal beer that screams October (pun intended), then Roadsmary’s Baby’s packaging will certainly grab your attention. Artfully adorned in bright pumpkin orange, green and black, there sits a jack-o’-lantern carved into the shape of an old baby’s carriage, atop a hill under a misty moon.

But there is nothing scary about this beer. Aged in rum barrels, with vanilla bean, pumpkin and spices makes it sound quite intense. While the muddy and dark amber color would also hint at a powerful beer. But this beer is very light and easy to drink. The head retention is fairly decent, but the size of the bubbles within the head allow it to dissipate quickly. The nose is not anything special. Typical notes of slightly sour hops come up first, followed by slight hints of raw nuts and cane sugar. The top of the beer is extremely light for its looks; mild bready notes and hints of orange peel followed by a medium body of fresh winter squash. The finish leaves almost no trace. Only a bit of minerality and winter spices are detectable here.

This beer might seem too light at first, but the flavors here compound. This means that the beer develops more intense and complex flavors that build as you drink. The body tends to build a bit more of a caramel and vanilla, and the spices in the finish get stronger as well. With the alcohol by volume at 6.8 percent, this pumpkin ale is easy to drink and will keep you warm as the wind picks up in the afternoon.

Because this seasonal ale is both light and complex, its paring capability is fairly wide. Things that come to mind immediately are foods that would compliment the seasonality of this beer, and contrast the acidity and spice that it brings. Nuts, fresh local apples and sharp, salty cheese would make the best pairing. On that same note, a piece of apple pie with melted cheddar would be nice as well, not to mention the obvious option of a warm slice of pumpkin pie with some nutmeg whipped cream, or a rum string icing. Alternatively, the pumpkin ale would be a nice compliment to most white fish and fried foods.

This beer is available locally at Price Chopper or Storrs Wine and Spirits inside the Storrs center as part of their pick-six or as a stand alone six pack of 12 ounce bottles, and makes a nice addition to your fall drink list for about $10 to $12 bucks.

Overall rating 6/10

Dan Wood is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu.