A Fall Ale With A Festive Backstory

When I order a beer, it’s almost always an IPA of some sort. I’m a sucker for hops! But with fall upon us, I’ve found myself gravitating toward darker ales and the occasional stout or porter. I recently came across this bourbon barrel-aged pumpkin ale at the grocery store and couldn’t resist bringing it home to try. Pinchy Jeek Barl Bourbon Barrel Pumpkin Ale is a boozy (8.5%), creamy, brownish-amber ale worth indulging in this fall. Plus, you’ll love the festive story behind its name!

This ale is actually brewed in my home county, and its odd name pays homage to the Boontling language, which is unique to the Anderson Valley and nearly extinct. In Boontling, “Pinchy Jeek Barl” translates to “Stingy Jack,” who is supposedly the mythical character associated with jack-o-lanterns. There are endless versions of the story, but basically Stingy Jack was a drunk who made a deal with the devil, naively thinking he could trick Satan. As the story goes, Jack eventually dies and finds himself not welcome in Heaven or Hell. Satan condemns him to a never-ending night, his only source of light being a piece of burning coal inside a carved turnip. Anything sounding familiar? He forever became known as “Jack of the Lantern,” which was later shortened to jack-o-lantern.

But this barrel-aged ale offers more than just a neat story! What I love most about it is that it’s not overly pumpkin-y yet has a richness perfect for this time of year. I can easily see myself drinking this well into the Thanksgiving festivities. The barrel-aged notes definitely outweigh the pumpkin and spice initially, the nose smelling of bourbon, oak, and vanilla; however, you do get some of that spice and even a slight caramel-y flavor on the finish.

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Cheers to the month of October and this fitting ale! Missed my last post on the ways I’m getting in the fall spirit? Check it out here.

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