Holiday Spiced Wines

Tis’ the season for giving and receiving presents, food, fruit cake, gift baskets, holiday cheer and love. People often forget what this holiday is all about which is spending time with your loved ones and giving thanks for everything that has happened over the past year. What better way to spend the holiday then with nice a glass of spiced wine while sitting around the Christmas tree (or menorah if you’re Jewish)? I was able to find some nice wines that that can bring holiday cheer to anyone in a wine glass.

Ferrante Celebration Spice Wine

Photo courtesy of

Ferrante Celebration Spice:

It’s a sweet festive grape wine spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove or natural flavors. The wine can be enjoyed with a cinnamon stick or citrus fruits. It is made in Harpersfield Township, Geneva, Ohio and is only released during the fall and winter months. The information above was taken from the Ferrante Winery’s website.

The wine tasted great but I wouldn’t eat it with dinner. I enjoyed it more as a night cap so the flavors were able to cultivate their own tastes and didn’t compete with the flavors from the food. I found the bottle for only $7.99. It is a corked top so I wouldn’t let it sit too long once it’s opened. I put some wine in the fridge and it was enjoyable warn or cold.

Brotherhood Spiced Wine

Photo courtesy of

Brotherhood Spiced Wine:

The tradition of mulled wine in our country goes back to before the Revolution, when it was quaffed piping hot in taverns, inns and homes. Brotherhood’s Holiday Wine carries on this colonial tradition. Its moderate sweetness is balanced with tartness. Holiday is a versatile wine. It can be served piping hot (but do not boil) in a pitcher or punch bowl or chilled over ice. The winery is located in Washingtonville, New York and is the oldest winery in America operating since 1893.  The information above was taken from the wine label on the bottle and from the Brotherhood Winery’s website.

I really liked this wine a lot. I prepared my glass with ice cubes so it had a slight chill to it like the label said. It was perfect. The ice didn’t water down the wine but mellowed out the spices so it wasn’t overpowering. I didn’t drink it with food so there weren’t any other flavors competing with the wine. The bottle only cost me $7.99 and was totally worth it.

Naughty & Nice

Photo courtesy of

Naughty & Nice:

It is the newest seasonal release from the Duplin Winery and is a delicious white Muscadine wine. It is sweet and fruity wine that is enjoyable alone or with fresh fruits and sweet desserts. The winery is located in Rose Hill, North Carolina and has three other holiday wines to try such as Christmas Eve, Christmas Wine and Just Naughty Wine. The information above is taken from the Duplin Winery’s website.

First off I would just like to say I am not a fan of white wine. I got to admit though for a white wine it was very enjoyable. I drank a glass with strawberries and chocolate to eat and it paired perfectly. I give it two thumbs up for anyone who like sweet white wines. I was able to buy the bottle for $9.99.

These wines can be purchased at your local beverage store or grocery store but only for a limited time. Once they are gone, they are gone until next year so stock up fast. The state of Ohio mandates these prices that I have mentioned in my article. If you live in another state, prices may vary.

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!


Pumpkin Beer Is Not For Everyone Part Two

A beer and a pumpkin

Photo courtesy of

Al, Madison and I had very different opinions on how the beers tasted and what we thought of them. I am going to run down what the brewers said about their beers and what we felt about the beers.

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale: It is an amber-colored ale that is brewed with a bounty of fall favors like vine-ripened pumpkin, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Together with a touch of wheat, Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale has a smooth, lightly spiced finish. It pairs well with beef dishes and seasonal soups.*

Al’s opinion: “It’s not terrible but it gives you an aluminum taste in the back of your mouth after a second.”

Madison’s opinion: “No smell.”

My opinion: “There is a bit of a pumpkin skin after taste and kind of waxy.”

Pumking: It is an ode to Púca, a creature of Celtic folklore, who is both feared and respected by those who believe in it. Púca is said to waylay travelers throughout the night, tossing them on its back, and providing them the ride of their lives, from which they return forever changed! Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spicy aromas present themselves, let its deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape.**

Al’s opinion: “Someone made pumpkin pie with water and made this beer.”

Madison’s opinion: “It’s like someone scooped out the entire pumpkin pie filling and mad a beer with the leftovers.”

My opinion: “After you take a sip the taste hits you immediately and you can breathe out the flavor.”

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale: Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. A rewarding complement to many dishes, Ichabod pairs well with autumnal foods such as poultry and root vegetables.***

Al’s opinion: “Not that great.”

Madison’s opinion: “Slight pumpkin taste.”

My opinion: “Tastes like lightly fermented pumpkin bread.”

Post Road Pumpkin Ale: This beer is available at the beginning of August through November. Pumpkins are blended with barley malt. Hundreds of pounds of pumpkins are blended into the mash of each batch; creating a beer with an orange amber color, warm pumpkin aroma, biscuit malt center and crisp finish. It pairs well with holiday dinning.****

Al’s opinion: “Not bad. Tastes like a sweet light beer.”

Madison’s opinion: “Has a nuttier flavor with a slight nutty after taste.”

My opinion: “Smells like roasted pumpkin seeds.”

Punkin Ale: A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. It is released right around September first each year. It pairs well with turkey, roasted duck, lamb, stuffing and dessert dumplings.*****

Al’s opinion: “I like this one. It’s better than the rest we tasted.”

Madison’s opinion: “The after taste stays with you and then it tastes pumpkinish.”

My opinion: “No smell really. A weird twang taste when you first take a sip.”

Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale: Nothing on their Website to reference to because it’s too new to post the facts about. You can find opinions about the beer on other Websites but I’m not posting anything that doesn’t come straight from the brewery.

Al’s opinion: “It’s sweet and cinnamonish and tastes like ass.”

Madison’s opinion: “The molasses over powers the spices.”

My opinion: “Smells line cinnamon and you can taste the molasses.”

St- Ambroise Pumpkin Ale: It just brewed once a year in the fall and distributes a limited amount. It embodies a blend of pale and caramel malt, hops and spices. It’s an original taste made by original people.******

Al’s opinion: “After you let it sit for a while there is a weird taste in your mouth.”

Madison’s opinion: “After taste of raw pumpkin.”

My opinion: “Taste more pumpkin in this one.”

Please remember that these are only opinions that were expressed by each of us. Everyone has one and is entitled to one. I wanted to contrast between what the brewery described and what we thought, but please don’t let it discourage you from trying new beers.

*Content taken from the Blue Moon Brewing Company’s website

**Content taken from the Southern Tier Brewing Company’s website

***Content taken from the New Holland Brewing Company’s website

****Content taken from the Brooklyn Brewery’s website

*****Content taken from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s website

******Content taken from the Brasserie McAuslan Brewery

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!

It’s Pumpkin Time

Pumpkins and Beer
Photo Courtesy of Anne Holcomb

The fall season is upon us, so it’s time to start hiding in the house more as the weather slowly creeps a little bit colder each day. The leaves are changing, pumpkins being picked, wagon rides boasting with screaming kids, corn mazes open and seasonal drinks are being served. One in particular is pumpkin beer.

There are more than 300 different types of pumpkin beer brewed all over the world. I wanted to show you a chart of the different kinds of pumpkin beer, but that would over load my blog. I decided instead to give you the top ten as ranked on BeerAdvocate:


Name of Beer






Pumpkin Ale

Selin’s Grove Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale




The Great Pumpkin

Elysian Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale




Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room

Pumpkin Ale




Pumpkin Ale

Williamsburg AleWerks

Pumpkin Ale




Treat (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)

Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Pumpkin Ale




Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Cigar City Brewing

Pumpkin Ale





Southern Tier Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale




Kuhnhenn All Hallows Ale

Kunhenn brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale




Great Pumpkin Ale

Cambridge Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale




The Horseman’s Ale

Defiant Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale



Pumpkin beer has been around since colonial times. It was more of an American thing than a European thing: pumpkins were a native plant in the Americas. At harvest time farmers would have an abundance of pumpkins because they grew very easily. The meat of the pumpkin took the place of the malt and other spices were added to take the place of the ingredients they didn’t have.

Pumpkin beer continued to be brewed until the 19th century when pumpkins weren’t viewed as a wonderful thing in beer anymore. Malt, barley and other ingredients became accessible which replaced the pumpkin and it’s friends. There was a brief glimmer of hope in the 1840s, but didn’t become popular like it had been before.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale
Photo Courtesy of BeerAdvocate

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery revived the pumpkin beer craze in the mid-80s. Since then, most breweries have made versions of “pumpkin ale” or what they think is pumpkin ale. If you are looking for true pumpkin ale, read the ingredients. I don’t know how many times I have picked up a pumpkin beer to try, read the ingredients and then put it back because it wasn’t even made with pumpkin.

Today’s trend seems to be going more to pumpkin pie tasting beer rather than actual pumpkin beer, but every one is different. To get the pumpkin spice taste brewers will add nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Next week, I’m going to have my own taste testing with a couple of my friends. I am going to buy a variety of pumpkin beers and have each one of us rate them. I will talk about all the ingredients in the beer and try to explain the actual flavors I taste. We will be drinking a true pumpkin beer all the way over to the other end of the spectrum of trying a true pumpkin pie beer. If anyone has suggestions on what we should try please drop me a note and I’ll try to find the beer to try.

Also, I wanted to find pumpkin wine, well if some body makes it, and compare it to apple wine. Apples are another big item for this time of year. If any one knows, please let me know.

I only mentioned a brief history of pumpkin beer in my blog this week. If you want a more complete history of pumpkin ale, check out Serious Eats.

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!