Cinnamon. Allspice. Nutmeg. If these words make you think of cool autumn evenings, the changing of leaves, and fresh baked pies, then you're probably a big fan of pumpkin beers. Of course, we don't get much in the way of change for autumn; nothing much more than a slow months-long creep down in temperature into the 70's and maybe 60's, but what we do get to share with the rest of the country is the abundance of seasonal beers.
Generally speaking, the most popular fall beer offerings come in one of two flavors: Oktoberfest and Pumpkin.
Oktoberfest, as a style, is a darker, maltier lager brewed to celebrate festival surrounding the 1811 marriage of Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig and Therese of Bavaria. The accompanying festival occurs in Munich for 16 or 17 days in September and October.
On the other hand, there is the ever-popular pumpkin beer: an ale brewed with pumpkins and/or pumpkin pie spices. This sweet and spicy beer has captured the hearts of craft beer drinkers and non-craft drinkers alike. It's probably one of the few styles that almost anyone will partake in... almost.
There is love/hate relationship with pumpkin beers that has been brewing under the skin of beer enthusiasts for some time, and seems to be bubbling up to the surface, at least on Twitter, thanks to the scandalous brothers behind popular beer rating machine BeerAdvocate.
In early September, BA retweeted this unassuming beer joke, which sparked a bit of a controversy in the Twitterverse. (What else is new?)
Pumpkin beer is the modern day equivalent of the mullet. Everybody that brewed one will be ashamed of it in a decade.— John Bryan (@fancypantsbeer) September 3, 2013
What followed was... well... an ugly mess. Twitter user Mike Wilson summed it up pretty succinctly.
This got me thinking -- is there a great divide among pumpkin drinkers and pumpkin haters? Can there be a beer style that actually causes such a division? I haven't heard of such jokes and derision for IPAs or stouts.