10/8/19: Two Roads Brewing Company's Roadsmary's Baby

4:13 PM

Today's beer is one that I was excited to find in the wild. Back when I used Facebook (which wasn't too far back--I only gave up on it last month) (I still manage the blog's Facebook page, however) I saw a post about this ale in one of the beer groups I frequented. Someone had posted,  asking what Halloween/pumpkin ales others would recommend. One response had many more likes than the others: the rum barrel-aged offering from Two Roads, Roadsmary's Baby.

Intrigued, I hopped over to Untappd to see where I might be able to find it in my area. To my chagrin, I found that the ale wasn't distributed in Cincinnati (one comment on the aforementioned Facebook post clued me into this, but I guess I just wanted to see for myself).

Knowing this, imagine my surprise when, walking through my local bottleshop/international market, I found a sixer of the stuff! I grabbed it without a second thought. I'm happy to finally give it a go here and see if it lives up to the hype generated by that post.

Two Roads is, as stated on their "About Us" page, based in Stratford, CT. Founded by a group of four friends in 2012, the brewery (named one of the best in the US by Paste) draws inspiration from Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." By taking the road less traveled by, Two Roads brings a sense of creativity to the beers that they offer the thirsty masses.

Roadsmary's Baby (here's its official page) seems to be one such brew.  At 6.8% ABV, it's a rum barrel-aged pumpkin ale without the alcohol kick you might expect from the style. Two Roads states its smooth and features notes of pumpkin, vanilla, spices, oak, and just a hint of rum.

Given how touted the rum barrel-aging is, it should really come as no surprise that the first note I get from my can's bouquet is rum--it's more than just a hint, it's the big thing here. Beyond that, though, I do find oak and vanilla. A third visit to my can provides, at last, the pumpkin and spices (you know the drill by now: nutmeg, clove, allspice, cinnamon). But the rum is the showstopper here. Purrl, I'm guessing, is a rum fan because she gave my can a whopping twenty whiffs! Right on, Purrl cat.

The rum also dominates the flavor profile of the ale, making its presence first known in the middle. Before it shows up there's a definite pumpkin pie quality. But, it's all ogre once that rum hits. It swells to a crescendo immediately before running the each swig out into the finish. While it's accompanied by that oakey vanillaness, by the time the swig's finally washed away that sweet rum flavor is all that's left to linger on my lips. I have to say, though, there's no booziness here--you can drink this without worrying about that post-barrel-aged drowsiness creeping up behind you.

This is an ale and, therefore, drinks like an ale. It's not big and robust on the mouthfeel front and it shouldn't be. But, I kind of wish it was? With a big rum flavor like what this has, it'd be nice if it had more oomph, especially since there's not one present (thankfully so) as a warming alcohol effect. (I'm not saying that I dislike that warming alcohol effect--quite the opposite, in fact--but it's refreshing to find a liquor-barrel-aged beer without it.)

A few years ago, Michelle and posted up on our stoop for Halloween. She'd drawn a cat nose and whiskers on my face (she'd done the same to herself) and we sat out with a bowl full of candy. Our downstairs neighbors were stationed beside us, a spooky playlist rumbling out of their wide front door from somewhere deeper within their apartment. Our next door neighbor was dressed as a witch on her porch.

We were outside from the time trick-or-treating began to the time it was too dark for people to continue. A lot of families came by (I vividly remember one little kid dressed in a homemade Superman costume). Once darkness fell (both out downstairs neighbors and the lady next door had retreated inside their homes long before this happened) groups of teenagers rolled through in last-minute costumes asking for candy, which we gladly provided. Of all the things they could've been doing on Halloween night, they decided to throw on some costumes to trick-or-treat. It was wholesome, kind of like what I'm perceiving this beer to be--that lack of a boozy bite makes it far less intimidating that some of its more alcohol-fueled contemporaries.

I had high hopes for this beer and, after sitting down to think about it while imbibing, I'm pleased to say it lives up to them. Sure it's lacking a little on the pumpkin side for my preference, but the rumminess more than makes up for that. It's getting an official John Likes Beer score of 9.5/10. If you like your rum, be sure to track some down!

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