Adobe-the-Little-White-Dog did not enjoy being a banana this year
Adobe-the-Little-White-Dog did not enjoy being a banana this year
I made the Kermit the Frog Pumpkin. Mrs. Dan made the Elmo Pumpkin
I made the Kermit the Frog Pumpkin. Mrs. Dan made the Elmo Pumpkin

Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Porter
Halloween is not Adobe-the-Little-White-Dog’s favorite time of the year. That’s when her mother, Mrs. Dan, turns into a stage mom and makes her wear costumes and enter contests.

She was not thrilled to be dressed up as a banana this year. But to her credit she won 2nd prize in best costume at the annual SPCA Halloween Pet Contest held Sunday. That’s 4 straight years that she’s won something (I am proud that couple years ago Adobe and Mr. Ben won Best in Show).

This year Adobe and Mr. Ben entered the best pet and owner costume category. Ben wore his Bumblebee the Transformer costume. Mrs. Ben dressed Adobe as a regular bumblebee complete with wings. Ben refused to wear his mask at the last minute and dragged poor Adobe across the stage causing her little antennae to fall off. Yes, that’s right Stage Mom made the old girl change costumes during the contest. She was converted from a banana to a bumblebee. She was not happy. (The irony is that one of Adobe’s old costumes, a chicken, was loaned to Ms. Angie’s schnauzer Marlo and she won’t first place!).

So tonight, her suffering continued. I was pointed toward the door and given the job of escorting Ben and Adobe, both in their respective Bumblebee costumes around the neighborhood. She was not happy. Mrs. Brett joined us with son Andy. Stage Mom stayed home and enjoyed filling trick or treaters’ bags with candy.

We stopped off at Unka Mark’s house to pick up special treats for the boys. (I’m going to start calling him Unka Mark to differentiate between him and Whisky Mark who writes the Brown Column (when he gets around to it). As we left Unka Mark’s Adobe had her costume twisted about her waist. I granted her wish and took it off. Unka Mark last year took pity on me and gave me an adult malt beverage as I carried Mr. Ben around. This year no such luck. What he did give me was a “Bag Bomb.”

A “Bag Bomb” a toy of sorts. Obviously made in a country where they don’t pay high wages. Unka Mark told me he didn’t really know what it was but figured it was best given to me than Mr. Ben since it has “bomb” in its name. It was a 4 inch by 4 inch oil bag with pictures of jets and soldiers on it. I had no clue as to what it was.

After circumnavigating the block we made it home safely with the boys’ haul of candy. I pulled out my “Bag Bomb” and started to study it. It had some cryptic drawings on it that had two hands pressing on the middle of the bag, the bag expanding and then it popping open. There were no warnings to say “do this outside.” I wish it had.

I’m standing at the kitchen sink, about 10 feet away from Mrs. Dan, Mr. Ben, Mrs. Brett and Andy. I started massaging the bag. Nothing. Then I noticed there was little pocket of liquid in the middle. Kinda reminded me of the time a vacationing friend asked me to check in on their cat. The cat had a bladder infection and I was supposed to catch the damn cat and feel its bladder to see if it was swollen. Luckily it wasn’t but if it had been then it would feel like the little cell of liquid in this bag. I squeezed the bubble. Suddenly the bag swelled. We all looked at it with some amazement. I’m holding this thing about 12 inches from my face when “POW.” The damn thing exploded and sprayed the kitchen with crystalline gunk. Mrs. Dan got nailed in the face. She ran over to wash out her mouth saying some landed in it. She had little specs of white all over her black witch’s costume. It took 10 minutes to wipe down the counters and clean it off the cabinets and ceiling. I’m glad I had my glasses on because it stopped a big chunk of goo. It also hit Mrs. Dan computer.

Unka Mark…. I suggest you stay away from Mrs. Dan for a while.

Halloween is now over. Costumes are off. Mr. Ben asleep. Mrs. Dan has finally calmed down and has stopped threatening to hurt me. It’s time to enjoy a nice Halloween brew.

On a recent visit to Virginia I picked up some Starr Hill brews out of Crozet. I bought their seasonal Boxcar Pumpkin Porter and their Festie year-round brew. I’ve already consumed, with the help of Unka Mark, all but the last of a six of the Boxcar. I just haven’t had the gumption to site down and review it. I’ve just enjoyed drinking them.

This is a dark beer with a creamy brown head. First sip is spicy…. pumpkin spicy I suppose… but it definitely tastes like a porter. On second sip, after it warms up a bit, the pumpkin and spices mellow out and the chocolate and caramel malts start to stand out. There is a lingering aftertaste that leans toward roasted malts. But what I like about this pumpkin porter is that the spices are mellow. I’ve had some pumpkin brews lately that taste like biting into a dense cinnamon muffin and they forgot to add the sugar. This is definitely a session beer. Can’t gulp it or you miss the flavors. I started out drinking it in a frosted mug then let it warm up over a few minutes. It is a full-bodied porter that isn’t so heavy that you feel like you just drank a gallon of beer.

I just finished it and the last sip, now that it has been in the glass for 15 plus minutes, is much lighter feeling and not as spicy. I wouldn’t stretch this session out too long.

[quote type=”center”]Boxcar is an ode to the simpler days of folk music, when all a musician needed was a guitar and the railway. Traveling the world and sharing the gift of song is much like sharing the Gift of Great Beer.
–Mark Thompson, Master Brewer [/quote]

Starr Hill Pumpkin Porter
Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Porter

I visited their website and found a comment by Mark Thompson, Master Brewer: “Boxcar is an ode to the simpler days of folk music, when all a musician needed was a guitar and the railway. Traveling the world and sharing the gift of song is much like sharing the Gift of Great Beer.”

Their bottles say “Founded in Charlottesville” but their boxes proudly say “Charlottesville, Virginia.” Actually they are in Crozet, Virginia, halfway between Charlottesville and the Waynesboro on I-64. My mother used to live on the other side of the mountain in Waynesboro. I wish these guys had moved to Crozet sooner when I was visiting regularly.

That’s one of their mottos on their label The Gift of Great Beer. I’ve enjoyed sharing a few with Mark. Unfortunately the last gift he gave me spewed me with goo. I like my gift better.

Here’s some of the specs on Boxcar from their website:

Boxcar Pumpkin Porter is a traditional English-style Brown Porter with pumpkin added to the mash. Light spicing allows the subtle flavors of pumpkin and roasty porter to shine through. Boxcar is a session beer at 5.2% and very drinkable.

  • Malted Barley: Two Row, Caramel, Chocolate & Wheat
    Hop Variety: East Kent Goldings
    Yeast: Top Fermenting Ale Yeast
    Characteristics
    Flavor: Subtle pumpkin and spice
    Color: Dark Brown
    Style: Pumpkin Porter
    IBUs: 20
    ABV: 5.2%
    Other Info
    Availability: Seasonal
    Release Date: August 01, 2011

I’ll review Festie later when Mrs. Dan decides she’ll let him back in our house.

From: Crozet, Virginia
Brewery: Starr Hill Brewing

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