10/23/17: Saucony Creek Brewing Company' Maple Mistress Ale

4:53 PM

Let me paint a scene for you: While the light rapidly fails outside and rain patters on the roof, I'm huddled on my bed as spooky music pours through my speakers across the room. It's eight days out from Halloween and, damn, does it finally feel like it.

With that said, I have just over a week to get through my remaining stock of Halloweeny/pumpkin beers. Considering the weather and the creepy mood I've managed to work myself into, I figured tonight would be the perfect night to break into Spooky Beer of the Season #2 (see my previous post for #1 [which I totally did call a "Spooky Beer of the Season," but that's what I'll be calling all my Halloweentime beers from here on out]): Saucony Creek's Maple Mistress.

Saucony is based in Kutztown, PA, where it was opened in 2013 by ex-X Games athlete Matt Lindenmuth. He fell in love with craft beer while touring as a snowboarder and decided to settle down in his home state to brew his own once he retired. 2014 saw the addition of head brewer Nick Micio, who has an impressive brewing background including a stint at Weyerbacher. Saucony uses locally sourced ingredients in their mission to unite like-minded, adventurous people together through beer. Check out their "Storyboard" page for more in-depth details. 

If you couldn't tell by the picture above, today's beer is inspired by pirates. Specifically Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Their ship was boarded and they were arrested in the autumn of 1720. They provided the inspiration for this Imperial Pumpkin Ale that features butternut squash, maple syrup, and rum spices and boasts a 9.8% ABV. Although the story behind this beer isn't very Halloweeny, it's piratey inspiration pairs well with the wet, cold night on display through my window. Be sure to hit up it's page on Saucony's website for more information.

This ale has the best bouquet of all the beers I've had this year. There's vegetable from the pumpkin, earthiness--almost a woodiness--from the squash, brown sugar sweetness from the maple, and some spiciness from the rum spices. It all blends so perfectly that even Purrl couldn't resist it. She gave it eight whiffs, which is the most favorable review she's given a beer in months.

Maple Mistress' flavor profile doesn't match it's nose--it's much fiercer. The ale's spices give it a good bit of bite; don't expect your typical pumpkin spices here. This is something much more unapologetic. The pumpkin and squash serve to ground the beer while the maple (which has practically fermented out fully) lingers a bit in the finish to lend the ale some pleasant sweetness. There aren't any boozy notes to be found.

That biteyness carries right on through to the mouthfeel. It's sharply carbonated.

I have to say, I don't know what I was expecting from Maple Mistress, but it sure wasn't this. I am blown away by the sheer quality of the ale and punch it manages pack in a single bottle.

When I was in high school I usually had a cross country meet first thing on Saturdays in the fall. I'd have to show up at the school before dawn (most of the time) to catch the bus. I'd pile into it with the rest of the team and take it to wherever our meet was that day.

On the way most of the team would sleep (I couldn't blame them. It was before sunrise on a weekend), but not me. I'd put my headphone one and listen to music while staring out over the Ohio hills and fields we passed. I'd watch the fog dissipate and try to pump myself up for the race to come. I can't explain why, but these slow Saturday mornings spent anticipating the coming race is what Maple Mistress brings to my mind.

I have to hand it to Saucony Creek: Maple Mistress is one hell of a surprise. This is unlike any pumpkin ale I've ever had and, due to this, it's something it's incomparable to the rest of the pack. I give it the easiest 10/10 I've ever given. Go out of your way to find this beer. It's something you have to experience.

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