For a craft beer enthusiast, the most horrifying Halloween brew would be a watered-down, mass-produced, soulless barley pop. But one needn't go the taste-free route in order to be festively freaky on Wednesday. The American microbrew and niche beer scene has enthusiastically risen to the occasion of creating celebratory and creative products that are perfect for popping open while watching a slasher movie or doling out candy to hordes of zombie teenagers infiltrating your neighborhood.
With plenty of help from local beer guru John Linn, of Brown Distributing, Clean Plate Charlie has put together a suggested menu of Halloween-appropriate beers, along with ideas on where to find the brews.
For a hyperlocal choice, Due South Brewing's Isle of MaGourdo is a seasonal specialty ale available in limited quantities and for a limited time. The naturally-conditioned pumpkin ale is well-seasoned, but it doesn't lay it on too thick. I tried a tasting of it recently at the Boynton Beach taproom and can attest that it is -- as the bartender at Due South said -- a pumpkin beer for people who aren't really into (super sweet, overly spiced) pumpkin beers. At 5% ABV this is an easy-drinking beer and pairing suggestions include turkey and pumpkin pie. Head to the brewery to try a pint alone, or get one of the specialty mixes, which blend MaGourdo with Caramel Cream Ale or Roasted Cocoa Stout.
Linn also has some Halloween suggestions that are available in wider distribution. "Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Red Brick Laughing Skull are always two Halloween favorites; they will be on tap on Halloween at World of Beer Coconut Creek," Linn said.
Other places where you can find Rogue Dead Guy include Royal Pig Pub & Kitchen (available on draft), American Social Bar & Restaurant, Parrot Lounge, Ye Olde Falcon Pub (available on draft, and Linn said "they're sure to have a party" for Halloween), the Dubliner, and Brick Yard. Red Brick's Laughing Skull is also available at Churchhill's Pub in Miami and Respectable Streetin West Palm Beach.
For pumpkin beer lovers, Linn suggests hitting up World of Beer Coconut Creek where they'll host a carving contest, plus "a seasonal-themed glass rimming 'bar' where you can get pumpkin beers rimmed with pumpkin pie spice/etc. for a small charity donation." The party will rage from open to close and include a variety of seasonal beers, including Southern Tier Pumking, which Linn recommends.
To celebrate a little early, check out The Black Rose Irish Pub tonight in Boca Raton. The bar is hosting a pumpkin party from 8 to 10 p.m. with Shipyard Pumpkinhead and Smashed Pumpkin.
One bonus beer suggestion from Linn: "Southern Tier Krampus is based after an evil Christmas spirit, but the demon on the label is equally suited for Halloween. It's an imperial pilsner that you can find at a few places, namely Laser Wolf."
Cheers and happy haunting (and hopping).
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