Pumpkin Beer Fest 2020

Better late than never, I thought it would be good to get the results from 2020 on the internet before we embark into our 2021 beer fest next month. We had a beer fest in 2019, but I never got it on the blog and can’t find the written notes. I’m pretty sure pFriem won, but that’s off the record. Here’s 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Obviously we were online last year for the tasting. To make it easy, we just shared an Elysian pack and added the pFriem – we got a lot of our winners together that way.

Our scale remains:

5 points:  I would drink more of this RIGHT NOW, and never want to drink anything else.
4 points:  I would totally drink this again and again.
3 points:  I would drink this if someone offered it to me, but probably wouldn’t buy it.
2 points:  Would drink if the only choices were this and Bud.
1 point:  Nope. Not ever again.

Here are our ratings along with our anonymous tasting notes.

1st Place: Night Owl. 3.92857

  • 1st pumpkin beer all year – like a pumpkin tart
  • Not too sweat & syrupy
  • Spiced, but not spicy
  • Supple profile

2nd Place: The Great Pumpkin. 3.857142

  • Light & Fresh, like a crisp fall day
  • Tasty, less fragrant, less pumpkiny
  • Bitter, savory

3rd Place: pFriem. 3.357142

  • Fizzy, not pumpkiny at all
  • Champagne of beers
  • No aftertaste
  • Clean
  • Winter ale
  • Like it, but not pumpkin beer

4th Place: Dark o the Moon. 3.285714

  • Less syrypy, Christmasy
  • Chocolate and smooth
  • Crawl into bed with Grandma on Christmas Eve morning

5th Place: Punkuccino. 2.642857

  • Coffee, dirty, syrypy, smells nice
  • Not as good as remembered
  • Good for what it’s going for
  • Crawl into bed with Grandma on Thanksgiving morning

Dear Harriet, Age 6

Dear Harriet,

This week you turned 6, and seem to have changed overnight. I hope I can always remember the way that you tell stories these days, with so much expression, and grown-up inflections. Your dad and I are often stealing glances at each other while you’re talking, with our looks saying ‘can you believe this girl? where did she come from? when did she grow into this precocious little thing?’ You crack us up with your voices and ways of telling stories.

You fiercely love, and I love that so much. Your main focus of that love is your big sister. While she was camping on your birthday, I think you said at least 50 times how much you wished she was home with us. When she got home, you dashed to her with so much excitement. You also love your friends, and have proven your loyalty time and time again this year. You hate injustice and are quick to point it out. Even though you were one of the youngest (maybe the youngest) in your class, you didn’t let anyone push you (or anyone else) around, and while this can get you in trouble in kindergarten, I think this will serve you well as you grow up.

Your imagination is unparalleled. You journey to Paperland, where you’re the queen. You always have your oohaahs and bears with you, even though some of them keep dying. You are always ready to suggest some imaginative game to play with your sister and friends. You make detailed plans and truly believe that you can make them happen.

You can be stubborn, but just because you know what you want, and you know when you want it, and that doesn’t always fit with the reality of your situation. For that I apologize, I wish we could always go at your pace and your comfort level. As you grow up, you’ll understand this and gain more flexibility and I’ll figure out ways to gain more patience.

As you turn 6, and get ready for 1st grade, I want you to know how impressed I am with you, how proud I am of you, and how excited I am to watch you grow up. Please keep sharing all the wonderful ways you see the world. Please keep running to me with hugs and kisses. Please keep asking for one more hug and kiss when I tuck you in, because you ‘forgot’ the first ones. Please keep imagining your unique worlds. Please keep wanting to hold my hand. Please keep loving fiercely. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I love you, my sweet Hattie girl.

All my love,


November 9th, 2016

When I planned out what I’d be writing during the month of November, I had a very different post planned for today. Last Friday, I wrote about how my daughters would get to live a huge chunk of their early lives with minority presidents – a black man, and a woman. I was so sure that would be the case. Everyone was, right?

Today, I feel raw.  I’ve written a few things on Facebook.  I’ve shared a few things on Facebook.  I’m working on processing everything.  I’m not sure where I’ll go with this blog, but you’re welcome to come with me.

This morning I told my girls, “Mommy and Daddy love you so much.  We have some bad news.  Hillary didn’t win, and she won’t be president.”  I know it was a cop-out.  I just couldn’t bring myself to say the words Donald Trump will be our president.

Instead, Alma had to draw the conclusion herself and said, “So Donald Trump is the president.  Well, I don’t have to listen to him.”

Harriet said, “I have an idea.  We can make a trap.  Donald Trump is a bully.”  The Trump Trap has been a big theme in our house for almost a year.  Alma has come up with many plans about how to deal with the Trump Situation.  None of her plans included the White House.

When Bush won his first term, it was my first time voting for the president.  My friend and I wandered around campus in a daze.  We didn’t know what to do, but we figured the best idea would be to move to Italy and do yoga on a rooftop.  Since that wasn’t possible, we just walked.

Last night I just listened to Hamilton and wanted to quote it all on Facebook.

“Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away, no matter what they tell you…”

“To the Union, to the revolution, to the hope that you provide!…”

“I remember that night I just might regret that night for the rest of my days…”

“History has its eyes on you…”

“The world turned upside down…”

“What comes next, you’ve been freed.  Do you know how hard it is to lead? You’re on your own, awesome, wow.  Do you have a clue what happens now?  Oceans rise.  Empires fall.  It’s much harder when it’s all your call…”

“I’ll make the world safe and sound for you.  We’ll bleed and fight for you. We’ll make it right for you.  If we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you.  And you’ll blow us all away, someday, someday.  Yeah, you’ll blow us all away, someday, someday…”

“‘Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ we fought for these ideals; we should settle for less…”

“There are moments that the words don’t reach, there is suffering too terrible to name.  You hold your child as tight as you can, and try to push away the unimaginable. The moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down…”

“I hear wailing in the streets…”

“I stop wasting time on tears, I live another fifty years, it’s not enough… and when my time is up, have I done enough?  Will they tell my story?”


I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

I mean, we have to move on, right?  We have to take this horrible moment and find the good in it, right?

We have to organize and fight and stand up and teach our children that our country matters.  That the racists and misogynists don’t speak for us.  That we are better.  That our story is worthy of being told.