"Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north…. As he peeked ahead into the great land that stretched before him, the way seemed long. But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt he was headed in the right direction." (from Stuart Little by E.B. White)

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No Guts No Glory – Pumpkin Ale Tasting


On Sunday September 15th, Megan and I had an adventurous day spurred on by our desire to enjoy an approaching fall-like climate. We completed a blog more fit for the month of October, but figured it should be shared sooner than never. After a quiet date in the park with talks about our family and upcoming wedding, we decided to bike to Penfield. On the way home a beautiful monarch butterfly specimen appeared before our feet on the sidewalk. It was fully intact and fully dead. Score one for our butterfly/moth collection!

We then took the monarch in a plastic case and continued onward with plans to start a pumpkin ale tasting. While Megan prepared pasta for dinner I setup a simple arrangement with mason jar mugs and faux Fall berry decor. Not bad eh? Here are the results of our tasting with notes on flavors/aroma. I opted not to go into specifics with color as there clearly isn’t an extreme variation from one ale to another.






This beer has a complexity of flavors which we noted as uncommon for pumpkin ale. To me it smelled like a vanilla flavored tootsie roll. 

There was a subtle sweetness like molasses with the consistency of syrup. The flavor of molasses was complimented by bitter black cherry and oats. The aroma also came through as artificial spice similar to men’s deodorant.


Wolavers fine organic ales

Pumpkin Ale


This ale brewed in Vermont had a bland flavor from start to finish. It has floral aromas and a lasting sweetness like nectar, but really too much spice and not enough pumpkin. We both noted what smelled like lavender, but why in a pumpkin ale?


Dogfish Head (7% Alc.)

Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg

We were excited about this ale from Dogfish Head as they listed specific ingredients as well as alcohol content. As much as it seemed to smell like moss/dew, It was very malty with the satisfying sweetness of caramelized sugar. The bitter notes came through like a salty pretzel and the vanilla-like undertones reminded meg of marshmallow.


Blue Point Pumpkin Ale

Malt beverage brewed with pumpkin and spices

This ale was highly aromatic and reminded Meg of some “hippy head shop”. It had the aroma of incense, creek water, pine, lemon peel and patchouli. The flavors came through as too intense and sickening for my likes, but I could taste something like sandalwood oil which reminded me of bitter chocolate. Along with the standard nutmeg, cinnamon, spice you expect from a pumpkin ale this one offers a unique variety of flavors. Maybe more acceptable to those who aren’t a fan of pumpkin beers.


Post Road Pumpkin Ale (5% Alc.)

Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices

This ale had a nice peach aroma that reminded me of a White Ale by Hitachino Nest. The flavor is zesty like orange peel with a crisp opening, but overall watered-down experience. There are some light notes of nut and floral and a lasting bitterness.




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Hardy Harvest Orzo & Venison Dish

Sunday mornings William and I have a tradition; Morning Market Shopping.

Although Woody Allen would mock me by saying, “Tradition is the illusion of permanence”, I, for one, love them. Nothing is better than walking around the bustle of a Farmer’s Market with Joe Bean Coffee steaming from a mug in your hand and colorful and palatable possibilities at every stand.

Today, I came home and watched Fast Food Nation. While I’ve seen a dozen documentaries on the depressing state of our nation when it comes to consuming food and other goods, this one still left an impression. Albeit humorous, it highlighted a lot of critical down falls. Without getting out a soap box, I just want to post an “Ode to Local” meal post.

This dish was one that is easy, doesn’t take a lot of prep work, and is super filling. Will and I used venison from a deer that his Dad shot last season, colorful organic pasta from a local artisan pasta maker called Flour City (this was the Mushroom, Saffron, Spinach, and Cayenne Bon Vivant Orzo) and  a lot of produce from a local Farmer’s Market.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1lb. of Venison
  • .5 lb. Orzo Pasta
  • Green Bell Peppers (Or make it colorful!)
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Corn Starch mixed in 1/4 c. water
  • Sriracha
  • Ketchup (Some are made without HFCS)
  • 1/8 c. Soy Sauce
  • Organic Better than Bouillon Beef Base
  • EVOO
  • Salt (We used Simply Organic Grinder Salt)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil


1.) In a skillet, brown the steak (half inch strips work well), onion and pepper in oil.

2.) During this process start your chopped carrots in a pot of water to boil on the side.

3.) Add seasoning salt to your skillet and cook for 5 minutes.

4.) Now add bouillon beef base, ketchup, sriracha making sure steaks are thoroughly covered. Cook another 5 minutes.

5.) Strain your chopped carrots. We used the boiling water to start cooking our 1/2lb. of orzo at this time. Add carrots to the pan along with the cornstarch water mixture and soy sauce.

6.) Cover and simmer until meat is tender. approx. 10-20mins

7.) Remove your cooked orzo and strain from water. Add any seasonings or sauces your prefer.

Note: We chose to display our two dishes separate and garnish with a red pepper/herb leaf. If you care to go the extra mile and cleanse your palette, this meal goes wonderfully with the thick, roasted pumpkin and nut flavors of Festbier from Victory Brewing. Enjoy!