Pumpkin Beer Taste Test

Fall is here and that means its time for Pumpkin beer from a variety of vendors.  Every year I look forward to one very special Pumpkin beer which can be hard to find in my area.  Due to the elusiveness of this beer, I’ve had to venture out and try other brands.  Some have come very close, but only one can reign Pumpkin King for me.  This beer is DogFish Punkin Ale, which I first discovered at one of my favorite restaurants, Local 188, After trying so many pumpkin beers and seeing many more arise I decided to have a blind taste test with my husband, Alex, and his cousin, Steve.  Let’s see how my favorite beer held up.

The contestants:

Woodchuck Cider, Long Trail, Shipyard, Sam Adams, DogFish, Gritty’s Halloween Ale, Post Road, and UFO.

The judges:

Steve, Lauren, and Alex (???)

(Steve, Alex, and I are going to Octoberfest in Augusta next weekend and will be dressing the part, hence the costume.  Stay tuned next week!)

I poured each beer into groups of three cups labeled with numbers to identify the group and made a key to refer to later.  I asked the guys to rate each beer 1-8 and also give a few words to describe them.

After much fun tasting and deliberating, we came to an interesting conclusion.

The top 3 beers:

Sam Adams reigned supreme in our test, followed by Woodchuck Cider, and Halloween Ale.  I found this interesting because my normal favorite was not in the top 3, the winner was a new launch this year, a cider made second place, and Halloween Ale was third and is technically not a “pumpkin beer”.

Here are a few critiques from the judges:
Sam Adams

Steve: pumpkins, apple pie, yummy

Lauren: waxy, spicy smell, rich, weird start

Alex: apple pie-y, Smokey Robinson, Alan Thicke


Steve: candy, apple cider

Lauren: cough syrup

Alex: weird aftertaste, apple juice, bubbly

Halloween Ale

Steve: tastes good

Lauren: rich, good flavor, dark

Alex: smokey, ice creamy

There you have it.  We may not be the most professional critics, but we had fun doing it!

What do you think of Pumpkin flavored beers?  Do you have a favorite?





I recently returned from a business trip to Germany.  This was my first trip there and it was a great experience.  I’d lived in London for 3 months so I was used to the European vibe, however, Munich is very different from London.  For one thing everyone speaks German.  Fortunately, most of them speak English as well.  I was lucky enough to stay at the Mariandl, a beautifully ornate hotel with a gorgeous bar, and live American music every night.  My office was only a few blocks away and I enjoyed the short trek into work.  I was warned to beware of cyclists on the sidewalk.  They have their own lane and they stake their claim to it without a blink.  I darted out of the way many a time.  I envied them as well, thinking how nice it would be to bike to work.  Having to would not be great, but from time to time would be nice.

On my day off I travelled to Neuschwanstein, the castle King Ludwig commissioned in the 1800s that took 18 years to build- he only lived there 172 days.  He was charged with using the public’s money for his elaborate castle and was kicked out.  However, he never used the public’s money, he only overspent his own and asked his parliament several times for the remaining money owned.  He owed 6.2 million marcs- his original budget was 3.2 million.  Tired with his requests, the Bavarian government had him deposed and he was out June 9th 1886.  On June 13th he was found dead in Lake Starnberg near Castle Berg. Six weeks later the castle was open to the public.

I enjoyed trying new Bavarian foods each night after work.  This is my Weinerschnitzel with potatoes and strong dark beer.

The highlights of the trip were meeting my German colleagues in person, going to a traditional beirgarten, visiting a castle, and trying several different traditional Bavarian foods.  My favorite food by far was the Weisswurst, white sausage.  It’s served in a pot of hot water brought to the table.  You slice it out of its skin before you dip it in the amazing honey mustard.  Yum!  I was so intrigued that I read up on it on wiki and learned that it was traditionally made in the morning and the sausages should be consumed before they could hear church’s noon bells.  The sausage was so fresh and included no preservatives, that it had to be consumed quickly so as not to spoil.

I also tried Schweinebraten and Wienerschnitzel, both close contenders.

Overall, the trip was a great experience.  My advice is if you have some time to spend in Europe, try to hit a few countries to get the most out of you time spent flying.  I’d highly recommend visiting Munich, if only for Octoberfest.  Just kidding, there is much more to Munich than beer, but the beer is pretty great too.

I missed Oktoberfest by 2 weeks, but I was able to visit the fairgrounds as they set up the many large indoor beer houses.  I’m sure I was trespassing, but who knows if I’ll make it back- I had to see what all the fuss was about.  After that visit I am even more excited to attend.  It was the size of my college campus and was a mix between Busch Gardens and a local fair. Very exciting!

Happy Travels,


Beet, Apple, Pear, Ginger Juice

You might have seen my last post where I mentioned Beet Juice…

Beet juice is my new favorite to make and it happens to be a favorite of the Olympians as well. It’s rich in nitrates which give athletes a performance boost. The nitrates help muscles use oxygen more efficiently and have been compared to illegal performance enhancing drugs. Nitrates have a bad rap, however, researchers believe that the naturally occurring nitrates in vegetables may be responsible for some of the cardiovascular benefits of vegetable-rich diets. They come packaged with a bunch of health-protective compounds (minerals, vitamins, antioxidants). I love this blend due to the sweet and tangy zip from the pears and ginger.

BluePrint Cleanse- Apple Beet Pear Ginger

(also on Kris Carr’s juicing guide)
1 1⁄2 Granny Smith apple, quartered and cored ( I use 4)
1 1⁄2 Bosc or D’anjou pear, quartered and cored (I use 2)
3 small or 1 large (3-ounce) red beet, cut into small pieces
1-inch piece ginger

Blend away in your juicer.

A rainbow of nutrients.

Yes, that much food only makes one 24 oz. glass of juice. However, think of the time it would take you to eat all that. Juicing provides you with all of the nutrients you need in a fraction of the time and is absorbed into your system quickly because your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest it.

Plus, its fun to see the pretty colors you can make! Drink up!


%d bloggers like this: