Roadsmary’s Baby Rum Barrel Pumpkin Ale
Six Pack, $12.99, 6.8%
Purchased at Parkview Wine & Spirits, West Hartford
If I’m to believe the Intertubes, this is the greatest seasonal beer in the history of the world. If I’m to believe my tastebuds, it’s decidedly not. If I’m to believe my wife, this is a delicious beer. If I’m to believe my craft loving beer geeks, it’s a waste of brewing talent and money. If I’m to believe a few of the spouses of my craft beer loving beer geek friends, I should want to only buy this beer and this beer only while it’s available.
Hm. So what am I to do?
Only one thing, really… review it as honestly as I can. But that honesty comes with a caveat: I dislike almost every spiced beer and I dislike rum. So off the bat, a spiced beer that was aged in rum barrels, no matter how delicious, is just not going to be one that I enjoy. But I’m a fake professional, so I shall try to be as fake professional as I can here.
First, the obvious: Two Roads has once again come up with a great name and label. I’m sure whomever is coming up with these is getting paid handsomely (this is Two Roads after all) and they deserve it. If there was a Connecticut beer label/name competition (and in my head, there certainly is), Two Roads is right up there with the greats (NEBCO and WilliBrew) in the naming department, and with this “baby,” they are certainly on the map with Relic and NEBCO with the label art. (I said “on the map,” not “in the lead.” Calm down, people. Sheesh.) That jack-o-carriage is bad ass.
(Although, now that I think about it… all they did was co-opt the original movie poster; font, carriage and all. Minus 2 points.)
Of course, Rosemary’s Baby was released in 1968, meaning the crowd most familiar with it are in their 60’s. Back when Mia Farrow was an ingénue with a pixie cut, the thought of a beer with pumpkin and vanilla extract would have been as equally horrific as the Incubus lying with lovely Mia and birthing the devil. I’m not sure what happened in the 44 intervening years, but these days, pumpkin beers with all sorts of artificial flavors and extracts are a dime a dozen. Is this progress? Or is this merely proof that Mia Farrow actually did birth a demon and he controls the beer market in 2013?
She did sleep with Woody Allen y’know.
Two Roads says:
“Scary good. From somewhere between Heaven and Ale comes this scary-good seasonal.”
The idea here is a good one. Pumpkin ale, aged in rum barrels. To those who like pumpkin ales, awesome. To those who like the spices they throw into these beers, super awesome. To those who like both pumpkin ales and rum, super duper awesome. But then Two Roads did something strange. They added vanilla extract. Not “premium Madagascar vanilla beans on cask,” or whatever, but vanilla extract. I’d be willing to bet it was artificial as well, because, well, because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. (Pure picky conjecture on my part.)
I bought a six-pack of this because I had to. I was fairly confident my wife would enjoy it no matter what, so I wasn’t too upset about it. Though at $13 bucks plus tax and deposit… come on. I guess the extra 4 bucks is for the rum barrel aging. On the nose I got vanilla. At first sip I got more vanilla. And some potpourri spices. On the finish, I got a teeny tiny probably-all-in-my-head taste of the rum. At first I thought, “hey, this isn’t bad.” The 6.8% ABV is very well hidden.
But after 20 minutes I realized I had only taken 3 sips. After 30, I was maybe halfway done. This beer is cloying and sweet and tastes like a Yankee Candle shop. Like, next time your girl takes you to Yankee Candle, go in with your mouth open and sort of smell through the back of your throat. This is called “flehmening,” by the way, which doesn’t really work with H. sapiens but whatever (BS Biology, what’s up). THAT is what drinking this beer is like.
The rum is almost completely missing. I don’t know how long they aged it, but I’ve had rum aged beer where the rum is present. Not so much here… and it appears Two Roads agrees as they have already put out the label for the 2014’s “Roadsmary’s Other Baby” double rum barrel aged pumpkin ale with a little bit more alcohol.
I stared at the bottle and quickly realized that “Roadsmary’s Baby” was the most brilliant name in all of beerdom.
Because what lurks inside, unbeknownst to the drinker, is the devil, straight up. Evil, sweet-smelling, initially pleasing, human-race-destroying Anti-Christ himself. I rushed to the bathroom, unsure of my next move, and before I knew it, I had the clippers out and gave myself the cutest little pixie cut. I was mad – MAD! Out of my head. Damn you Two Roads, damn you to hell.
I dumped the rest of the bottle, told Hoang to drink the rest and called it a day.
“Here. Drink this. How do you like it?”
my wife, Hoang: “It tastes like a barrel of spices, but I like it.”
You see? I hate to stereotype but… women and their seasonals. Someone should study this phenomenon.
Overall Rating: D
Rating vs. Similar style: D