The Augusta Chronicle called it a "freak play." Freak my ass. It was the perfect play.
The Augusta Chronicle calle d it a “freak play.” Freak my ass. It was the perfect play.

Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale | Boonville, California

D uring this football season I’ve celebrated an Auburn victory with a pumpkin ale. There were tons of them this year. I didn’t get to drink one after the game. it was so late and I was so exhausted. I waited to the next day and enjoyed it while watching the replay on the DVR that Mrs. Dan recorded (She had her own anxious moments when Michigan pulled off a miracle field goal to setup their win in overtime).

I was so privileged to have witnessed the Immaculate Deflection when Ricardo Louis caught a ball deflected by Georgia’s Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews to give Auburn the lead in a hard fought game.

I was raised on the Georgia-Auburn game. My dad had season tickets starting in the 60’s. We usually went to this game. He never went to an Iron Bowl because I don’t think he cared for Legion Field. My uncle Ralph was head of the University of Georgia Press and had a pipeline to tickets. As a kid we always went to Athens to see the game. After I moved to Augusta me and my brother Charlie started using those season tickets to see some incredible Georgia-Auburn games in Auburn. These seats were on the 50-yard line behind the visitor’s bench.

After my mother died Auburn said we could keep the seats if we paid an extra $11,000. I love Auburn, but I also love feeding my family.

The Iron Bowl is usually a lopsided affair. There’s been a few decided on the last play or an upset (like when Cam Newton lead the Tigers to victory in the second half of the 2010 game). For the most part one team beats up on the other. The Georgia-Auburn game is a bit different. It has broken my heart more times than I want to count in the past 10 years. Not to say I didn’t enjoy those years where we beat them, but in those years when we were supposed to win, we didn’t. I still have to avert my eyes when the highlight reel shows Fred Gibson jumping up in the end zone to defeat Auburn in 2002. I’m sure Dawg fans will be averting their eyes for many years to come.

The seats Charlie and I bought on Saturday were literally 12 seats away from where we used to sit. Instead of being on the 50 we were on the 41, and one row back. It was sweet. I also had the privilege of sitting next to the father of one of the players father. We had a interesting conversion about Gene Chizik the former Auburn coach. (I’m glad he’s gone). I won’t mention his name because his son has been one of the most prominent players over the past 2 years. I don’t think it would be right to quote him when someone like me just happens to talk to them. I’m sure they are tired of the interviews about how bad Auburn sucked last year. But he did say one thing I will quote him on… the players respect Gus Malzahn. Nuf said.

I was elated during the first 3 quarters when we managed to keep Georgia in check. When Georgia took the lead with a 1:49 left Saturday night my heart sank. Once again Georgia had managed to spoil the party. While everyone was on their feet I sat down and watched the next minute and some seconds through the cracks. When it came to be 4th and 18 I decided it was time to stand and support our team, win or lose.

When Ricardo Louis crossed the goal line I dropped back to my seat fighting tears. I’ve been known to blubber like a baby when moments like this happen at the Bama game. To witness the greatest play in football history (I’m a bit biased here) was one of the most emotional moments of my life. To have it happen against Georgia…. priceless. That memory of Fred Gibson leaping up to grab that ball is erased.

All we had to do is sweat out the next 25 seconds and thank God we did. If Georgia had managed to pull out another touchdown I think I would have joined half the stadium jumping off the back ledge.

So, it is fitting that I sit here watching the catch of the century and drink a really nice pumpkin ale. I’m sipping it while listening to Verne Lundquist say that he’s never seen a play like this since he started broadcasting games in 1974.

Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’. Not sure where the name comes from. If you aren’t familiar with Anderson Valley their symbol or logo is a California brown bear with elk antlers.

This seasonal is a nice and mellow pumpkin ale. Smooth and creamy. There is some cinnamon in there and possibly some allspice. I would venture to say nutmeg because so many pumpkin ales have it. To be honest I think these pumpkin brews would be better served at Christmas. Heck, it’s like sampling grandma’s holiday cakes and cookies.

The pumpkin and cinnamon flavors are dominant but the spices don’t provide a dry or bitter finish. Well maybe a slightly dry roasty-toasty bitterness on the tip of your tongue but ever so slightly.

When I poured it into a frosty pint glass I could have sworn I was pouring some super sweet ice tea. Not real sweet tea but that instant stuff.

The taste is consistent from start to finish. Many of the pumpkin ales start off with strong spices then turn dry and then have a lingering finish. This one is pretty mellow throughout (with the exception of that slight bitterness at the end. I like this brew. I also like that it is in a can. I bought it at the Vineyard Wine Market.

So, the label says it has pumpkin and spices, it just doesn’t say which spices. So, off to the website. Here’s what they say:

With a brilliant, deep copper hue and creamy beige-colored head, our Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale has inviting aromas of caramelized malt and baking bread with highlights of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and seasonal spices. The pleasantly creamy mouthfeel and silky body embrace the sweet caramel flavors and tang of spices (with just hint of hops) that ends in a smooth, round finish.

For food pairings they recommend cranberry scones, roasted root vegetables, steak chili, caramel flan. With cheese they recommend brie and aged cheddar. They say to use a pint glass to serve it (got that one right). The ALC/VOL is 6% and the IBUs are at 20. They list the malts as Pale Two-Row, Maris Otter, Munich, Crystal 120L, Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Puree.

I’m not sure if Dark Chocolate or Pumpkin Puree are considered malts or not. I guess I could say in hindsight that there was some chocolate notes this beer’s flavors are so subtle it just slides in under the radar.

I’m tempted to grab a six and save these for Christmas. Or maybe just save them for when I rewind the DVR and watch the most amazing football catch in history…. over and over again.
Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing


Write A Comment

Pin It