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.