Beer Me!

One of my favorite parts of the change in seasons is the release of seasonal beers.  It’s not something I’ve talked about much (at all?) here, but I REALLY like beer.  I don’t know a lot ABOUT it.  I’ll never use all the beer geek language.  (I still giggle when someone talks about “head.”)  But I still love drinking it and trying all kinds of different brews!
A couple of weeks ago, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. announced the release of a new seasonal fall variety pack.  The search was on.
We’ve only got one place in this little one-horse town that carries many craft beers, so I figured that’d be the place to go.  They didn’t have it, but the guy working said he’d talk to the distributor, and he took my name and number so he could call me if they got it in.  I couldn’t leave empty-handed, so I grabbed up another Leine that I hadn’t tried before, Hoppin’ Helles, and a Blackstone Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale.
Since the Leinenkugels were already cold, they were the first ones I tried.  As the name suggests, it was pretty dang hoppy!  It wasn’t bad, but it had a rather bitter aftertaste.  
The next day, after the Pumpkin Ale had been in the fridge overnight, I cracked one of them open.
DUDE.  This. Stuff. Is. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!  It’s so smooth and creamy and just freaking delicious.  I dare say it’s my new favorite.  And, bonus, it’s local!  I didn’t even notice when I bought it that it’s brewed and bottled in Nashville.  I’ve since learned that they have a restaurant and pub and now I really want to go!
Then couple of days ago, the clerk at the liquor store called and said the Leinenkugel variety packs were in!  I picked one up right after work and immediately put one of each in the fridge.
Because I’m a pumpkin freak, the Harvest Patch Shandy was naturally the first one I tried.  It is absolutely perfect!  Unlike the Blackstone Pumpkin Ale, this one is a shandy, so it’s light, crisp, and refreshing.  It’s kind of perfect for these early almost-fall days when it’s still warm outside but close enough to fall that you’re ready to break out the pumpkin-flavored stuff.
So much YUM in one little can
Next I tried the Cranberry Ginger Shandy.  I did not like it.  At all.  Which really surprised me.  I like cranberries and cranberry juice (especially if it has vodka in it), and I like ginger, but this I didn’t like.  I’ll drink the others that came in the pack because DUH it’s still beer and you don’t waste beer, but I wouldn’t ever buy it again if sold by itself.
So much disappointment in one little can
And lastly there was the Old Fashioned Shandy.  I liked it better than the Cranberry Ginger, but I don’t think I’d buy this one again either.  It’s flavor was… interesting.  I didn’t know really how to describe it, so I googled for reviews and I saw the word “oak” come up a lot when talking about the flavor.  I think that’s a good description of the flavor.  
I really hope Leinenkugel will ditch the last two and start marketing the Harvest Patch Shandy on its own.  I would totally buy it again.  But as much as I love it, I won’t buy another 12-pack variety box for only four cans of the one I like.
Do you drink beer?  Any craft brews that you would recommend?
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