Wednesday, November 29, 2017

This joke

In the life cycle of a joke this one is currently at the level of "Dad Joke". It is too dumb to be very funny, but not so dumb that it becomes funny again. Please stop....

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pumpkin Beers (updated 10/21/2017)

Here are a list of all the pumpkin spice beer I have used in descending order of my personal enjoyment rating. And before you say "OMG pumpkin beer, that's going too far!" pumpkin beer is not a back-invention for the latte.  Beer was made from pumpkins and other gourds by the early European settlers so this is a tried and traditional flavor combination.

NewBelgium Pumpkick is a really bright, balanced beer.  They hit on the idea of balancing the pumpkin, spice ad wheaty flavors with cranberry and lemongrass--which sounds like it would be a cacophony of flavors but is actually light and perfect balanced,  Extremely pleasant and my favorite pumpkin beer.
My rating: 8.5/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate: 7.9/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.2/10

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is a hoppy, slightly bitter ale with notes of pumpkin and cinnamon.  Full-favored and not sweet.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate (as of 10/13/2015): 8.4/10
NotAnotherBeer: 8/10
PassionBeer: 9.1/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.3/10

Leinenkugel's Harvest Patch Shandy is a mild, pleasant wheat beer that would be better for a warm day than the cool august period when it is seasonally available.
My Rating: 7/10
Offsite Ratings
Beeradvocate: 6.7/10
Aggregate Rating: 6.85/10

ScBhlafy Pumpkin Ale is a well-balanced pumpkin ale, leaning sweet
 My Rating: 7/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate: 9.3/10
RateBeer: 9.5/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.6/10

Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking Beer: A lot of people, including some serious beer aficionados absolutely love this beer.  But to me the packaging is better than the beer.  It is beautifully golden and the aroma is beautifully pumpkin spicy. But the flavor is heavily malty ad hoppy and that is 90% of the flavor.  Nice enough, but it would never be my "go to" pumpkin beer.
My Rating: 6.75/10
Aggregate Rating:
Beer Advocate: 9/10
RateBeer: 9.7/10
Aggregate Rating: 8.48/10

Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy is really very badly named.  There was nothing sweet or shandy-like about it.  It is a beer they call "shandy-inspired" (FFS).  It is a nicely packaged wheat beer with some citrus flavor but generally very mild.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Offsite Ratings
BeerAdvocate: 7.7/10
Aggregate Rating: 7.1/10

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is a nice ale but on the light side flavor-wise with very little in the way of pumpkin or spice to it.
My Rating: 6/10
Offsite Ratings:
RateBeer: 8.7/10
BeerAdvocate: 8.8/10
Aggregate Rating: 7.8/10

Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is a pretty okay beer but honestly I am hardy getting any trace of pumpkin spice from it at all It may be one of the earliest pumpkin beers (1995) but it is not one of the best. Revisiting it in 2016 it has grown on me a little, but is still sort of a one-note beer with no a lot of pumpkin spice action going on.
My Rating: 4/10
Offsite Ratings:
BeerRatings 7.2/10
Aggregate Rating: 5.5/10

Honorable mention to Slapshot Brewing's Gourd Damn beer which does not have a really distinct spice element as far as I can taste, but t is a very nice pumpkin ale.  Some sites list it as discontinued but I have no trouble finding it in stores near me.

For other takes on the relative merits of pumpkin beers check out: Thrillist.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Which Pumpkin Spice Air Freshener Spray is the Best?

  • Febreze Pumpkin has a weird artificial first impression and settles into smelling vaguely like cheap scented detergent -- 1/10
  • Glade Cozy Autumn Cuddle is meant to smell of "heirloom pumpkin, caramel and spice" but all I am getting is burnt sugar and fly spray -- 2/10
  • Mainstays Pumpkin Spice Room Spray is a cinnamon-heavy scent that fades away quickly -- 4/10
  • Febreze Pumpkin Bliss is a mild woody-cakey spray that is pleasant in a low key way -- 5/10
  • Pier 1 Imports Pumpkin Spice is sweet and spicy but lacks any scent that suggests pumpkin -- 5/10
  • Glade Pumpkin Pit Stop is sweet and spicy and has a brightness that works reasonably well to freshen a room -- 6/10

Out of this lot I would put Pumpkin Pit Stop at the top but none of them are exactly eau de Mom's home cooking

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 5th, and So it Begins

The modern pumpkin spice trend was instigated by Starbuck's invention of the pumpkin spice latte in 2003.  This makes Starbucks like the Pope of PSL doctrine, including the timing of the first day of the pumpkin spice season, as marked by the first day the pumpkin spice latte is available in all of their stores nationwide.

Like any religious event there is sometimes a little wiggle room on the timing, but typically the first day is September first. In 2014 there was the great premature spice-ifi-cation when they launched the seasonal drink on August 25th, before reverting to the usual schedule.

This year there was an inexplicable delay and the launch was September 5th.  Is this a bad omen? Only time will tell. You can probably still squeeze int he time to get a few PSL lattes before the vanish again in mid-December.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Pepper named after Pumpkin Spice

The The New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Breeding Program has brought out a number of color variants of chili pepper with whimsical names like Sunrise, Sunglo, and eElipse.

Their latest invention is a set of jalapenos (Capsicum annuum) that ripen into yellow, orange and "pumpkin orange" colors. These are called ‘NuMex Lemon Spice’, ‘NuMex Orange Spice’, and ‘NuMex Pumpkin Spice'. Seeds can be bought online form the Chile Pepper Institute.


Bosland, P. W., & Coon, D. (2015). ‘NuMex Lemon Spice’,‘NuMex Pumpkin Spice’, and ‘NuMex Orange Spice’JalapeƱos. HortScience, 50(7), 1104-1105.

The season begins, ever earlier

It is the first day of summer where I needed to put on a pair of socks to stop my ankles from getting chilly. And fox reports that pumpkin spice products are already hitting the shelves. Time to "fall-clean" the blog and get ready for a new round of tasting and testing!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Portillo's Pumpkin Pie Shakes Are Kind of Amazing

Why has no one told me about this before? Just last Friday I decided to treat myself to Portillo's and discovered their seasonal offering of the pumpkin pie shake.

Portillo's is already somewhat famous for their year round offering of a chocolate cake shake.  This is literally a piece of chocolate cake, crumbed (not blended finely), and mixed into a chocolate shake.

Well, they have applied this same direct approach to getting pumpkin pie into a vanilla shake.  The little morsels of pumpkin spiced pie filling and graham cracker crust are ah-mazing.  Get this one while you can.

Just try not to think about how many calories it is, probably like a billion.  Just trust me, it is worth it to try this at least once.