10/3/22: Off Color Brewing's Pumpkin Beer for Cafés

3:43 PM

The Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month train keeps a-rolling with our second pumpkin beer of the season: Off Color's Pumpkin Beer for Cafés.

You remember when I discussed the brewery's Waddle last month? I mentioned how it was a limited drop that didn't reach Ohio and how, luckily, my folks were able to grab some for me when it hit shelves in Michigan? Well, wouldn't you know the exact same thing happened with this pumpkin ale? Since it hit the market right around the time Waddle did, my parents were able to snag some of this for me, too. This one's for you, Mom and Dad.

Want to know more about my favorite Chicago, IL brewery? Then, I'll direct you to last month's Waddle post again. In that I wrote a bit about the Dave and John, their history, and their brewery. You should also definitely check out Off Color's "About Us" page.

Pumpkin Beer for Cafés is a seasonal ale that's "Available Pumpkin Spice Season." This 5% ABV offering's brewed with pumpkin puree, red rooibos tea, vanilla, and a slew of spices. Off Color says it boasts a sweet yet earthy nuttiness that separates it from all other pumpkin spice beers on the market.

The very first note I get from the ale's bouquet is a sweet and pleasant herbal tea, all warming and inviting. My second waft rewards me with the pumpkin puree--gourdy and roasted (as in roasted pumpkin, not roasty malts). This features a subtle, yet full, backbone of spice. I can specifically suss out cinnamon and nutmeg, both of which are featured in the beer's recipe. I'm also finding a touch of ginger (which isn't in the recipe) that I can best attribute to the intersection of the vanilla and rooibos. I have to say that, true to what Off Color touted, the nose here is wholly unique. Henrietta gave my can two quick whiffs, which is (I think?) good for her; she's four now and I'm still figuring out her rating scale.

Much like the bouquet before it, Pumpkin Beer for Cafés' flavor profile is a unique beast. My initial swig begets a rush of flavors: hearty pumpkin, rich and verdant tea, vanilla, and all the spices mentioned above (with the inclusion of allspice [not in the recipe] and clove) with none of their previous subtlety. There's a hint of graham cracker here, probably due to the vanilla. All in all, this is a lush ale--a near-perfect flavor encapsulation of the aroma of fallen leaves. Interestingly enough, I don't get any nuttiness from my can.

Pumpkin Beer for Cafés has a bitey mouthfeel. The ale's sharp and finely carbonated, which pairs incredibly well with the spiciness of its flavor profile.

During my undergrad (okay, through the entirety of my educational experience at Ohio University), walking was my primary mode of transportation. I loved it. There was something special about having to hike up and down the hills of campus throughout the whole year.

But hiking those hills in fall? A damn-near transcendent experience. Athens is lovely when its trees have their autumnal coloring. The way the street and path lights would catch those leaves at night, while their fallen brethren crunched satisfyingly underfoot, was something special. That's what today's beer is.

Again and again I find myself impressed by what Off Color creates. Pumpkin Beer for Cafés continues that wonderful trend. This is the most unique pumpkin beer I've ever had. I'm giving my can a 9.0/10. I can't wait to see what Off Color I get to drink next.

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