Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale
Brewed by: Russell Brewing Company (Surrey, BC)
Ingredients: couldn’t find ’em anywhere
To make up for my slightly disparaging remarks about Sam’s gaming focus, he comes in with me to review today’s selection. I even let him choose the beer.
The bottle he picked from my modest pumpkin patch is Happy Jack, a local brew from Russell. I’m a fan of Russell, despite the comments made by former roommate English Dave, who said their A Wee Angry Scotch ale tasted like a pint of gravy. Whatever, English Dave was a dork and I dig AWAS, so I was looking forward to this one. I poured out a couple glasses for me and the mister.
Me: What do you think?
Sam: It’s good. It smells like an actual pumpkin pie.
Me: I’d say this one tastes almost exactly like one too.
Sam: Let’s not get carried away. It’s still beer.
Happy Jack lived up to his name. It’s similar enough to the Mill Street and Red Racer beers, but with much more cinnamon. Since, as I mentioned before, I love spices, this was a positive for me, and it went especially well with a molasses-y, brown sugar sort of undertone. The colour is a nice dark chestnut, but still clear. The bubbles are small but intense, avoiding the pop-like consistency of the Hobgoblin; the head is thin but creamy, just the way I like it. A little more hop wouldn’t go amiss, but I think that would detract from the pie flavours. Although the taste is strong, it doesn’t hang around too much.
If I have one criticism, it’s the aftertaste. I have an aversion to a lot of Belgian-style beers (I know, heresy!) because I think they literally taste how the bottom of a barn smells. Happy Jack doesn’t have that particular issue, but perhaps a related one – it’s got the tiniest hint of wet dog on the back end. It doesn’t linger, and it’s not enough to make me hate the beer, but I wish it weren’t there. On balance, though, I’d take this one over Red Racer, my previous favourite.