11/1/15: New Holland Brewing's Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, A Late Halloween Post

1:17 PM

I really meant to make this post yesterday. In a perfect world, I would have risen with the dawn of the Halloween sun, gorged myself on candy and sweets, consumed this beer and wrote the associated post, camped out on my porch to give candy to trick-or-treaters, and capped off my night with a spooky movie or two. Alas, I had work yesterday so it wasn't as perfect as I had wanted it to be. In light of this, some of my plans were (out of necessity) left by the wayside. Specifically the gorging myself on candy and drinking beer ones.

But, as I'm sure somebody once said, all's well that ends well. And, technically, Sunday, November 1st is still part of the Halloween weekend. So today I'm making up for the plans I put off yesterday. I've had plenty of candy/sweets and I'm now attending to my beer. Up for consumption this holiday weekend is New Holland Brewing's Ichabod Pumpkin Ale.

What do I know about New Holland Brewing? Not much. I know that they're based out of Holland, Michigan. I know that they brew some damn good beer (including, but most certainly not limited to, Dragon's Milk and Cabin Fever). I know that they also distill spirits (some of which I've had, and all that I've had I've enjoyed). I know that, thanks to their About and Our Beer pages, that they genuinely care about craft beer--all of it, not just their own (although I'd assume that they tend to favor their brews). And that's about it. To my knowledge, their website offers no further information regarding their history. I could always look on Wikipedia for more info about New Holland, but my teachers/professors always asserted that it's an unreliable source, so I'd best not do that.

What do I know about Ichabod? Considerably more than I know about its brewer. It's official webpage says it clocks in at 4.5% ABV (trust me, it feels heftier. And it just might be because my bottle tells me that the ABV is actually 5.2%) and that it boasts a combination of real pumpkin, malted barley, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  The packaging from which my bottle comes also informs me that Ichabod is New Holland's autumnal seasonal.

It smells like a pumpkin ale. I get the nutmeg, and some pumpkiness. But there's also another aroma I'm picking up from my waft of the bottle--peanut, perhaps? It's strange, intriguing, and not bad. Unless you're Purrl. Then you give it a single whiff before returning to staring absent-mindedly out the window.

Flavor-wise, it hits an almost perfect balance. It's not very sweet, which is always a welcome aspect of pumpkin ales for me. I've never heard of a sweet pumpkin. The ale plays into the gourds vegetabliness. Upon immediate swallowing, I get the cinnamon. And, lingering around in my mouth for a moment or two after consumption, I find the nutmeg. Nice.

Ichabod is a good, bubbly ale. It's not champaign level bubbly, but it has a very full, filling quality to it. It's a dinner beer, which is to say it's not quite a dessert beer.

Here's something that not a lot of people know about me: I've always been a big fan of everything The Legend of Sleepy Hollow-related. I was first introduced to the story through its Disney adaptation. Perhaps my favorite iteration of Irving's concept is Tim Burton's feature, Sleepy Hollow. I was a sophomore in high school the first time I watched that film. It was in the middle of a cold, cloudy, and downright dreary November Sunday. The setting of the world outside my window at the time perfectly meshed with the mood of the movie I was watching. It was creepy, but not overly scary. It's like that feeling you get when someone runs a loan finger down your spine. It may just be the name of this brew (I really don't think this is the case, though), but Ichabod reminds me of the very first time I watched Tim Burton's vision of that particular American classic.

In summation (which isn't really in summation because I'm not exactly summarizing what I've written here), New Holland Brewing's Ichabod Pumpkin Ale is a great pumpkin ale. While it's not my favorite (it falls just short of that mark), it's one that I would recommend to anyone who's 1.) looking for the next great pumpkin ale, 2.) been burned by pumpkin ales before, or 3.) is looking for an entry point into the world of pumpkin beers. It's the recipient of a well-deserved 8.5/10 from me. Now, because Halloween is over, I'm about to turn into one of those people hyped on the coming December holidays. If you don't want that, fret not. I still have one or two more fall seasonal posts in me.

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