An issue that has truly divided our society
It's fall and the weather is finally getting a bit cooler, which means it's time to dive into a debate that has truly divided our society: Pumpkin-flavored food items. In this case, we're specifically talking beer. Is pumpkin beer the perfect autumnal beverage, sweet and tasty with the ability to fill us with happiness and extra calories, or is it just too much, an excessive representation of everything that's wrong with our nation's pumpkin obsession? Two of our writers, Andy Staples and Luis Miguel Echegaray, make their cases on this crucial issue below:
The Case For Pumpkin Beer
By Andy Staples
You’re going to read elsewhere on this site that our nation’s obsession with all things pumpkin spice has run amok. You’re going to read that pumpkin beer is to blame. This is libel, plain and simple. I won’t stand for it.
To prep for my defense of this innocent beverage, I planned to buy a four-pack of Southern Tier’s Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale. But before I could find that, I found one 22-ounce bottle of rum-barrel aged Pumking. After downing the contents of that bottle, I’m ready to take a stand. (Also, I love my job.)
Like conference games in college football, temperatures a shade below hellfire (I live in Florida) and an uptick in sexy cop costume sales, pumpkin beer is a delightful reminder that fall has arrived. For those of us who like to drink our desserts, its arrival on the shelves each year is cause for celebration. It pairs wonderfully with the burgers, wings and steaks that help us watch all those conference games and keep us from fitting in our sexy cop costumes.
The IPA-only snobs don’t like most pumpkin beer because they can’t imagine drinking a beer that doesn’t leave the taste buds running from a flood of bitterness. The cheap beer loyalists hate pumpkin beer because they’re accustomed to alcohol-flavored water and can’t bear a beverage with flavor. But for the rest of us, pumpkin beer is a sweeter alternative to the IPAs and ales we usually drink. It’s not an every-time beer, but when we want to get a buzz from liquid Autumn, it’s ideal.
It isn’t pumpkin beer’s fault that the rest of society has gone pumpkin crazy. Yes, pumpkin spice lattes are disgusting. The pumpkin-flavored coffee creamer that appears this time of year should be classified as toxic waste. Pumpkin spice whey protein is unnecessary. So is pumpkin spice fake butter. Pumpkin spice Pringles probably should be fired into space.
But the existence of these monstrosities doesn’t diminish the deliciousness of pumpkin beer or pumpkin pie or that pumpkin bagel I ate yesterday before I learned I would need to drink pumpkin for work. It’s just like television. I laugh when people complain that there are too many channels/streaming outlets. They argue that all this abundance has given us are Real Housewives in less populated cities. But that competition for eyeballs also gave us Breaking Bad and Bojack Horseman.
It’s not pumpkin beer’s fault you don’t trust yourself enough as a consumer to make tasty choices. Eat/drink the good pumpkin stuff. Ignore the rest. But be warned. Pumpkin beer can be a bit of a gateway drug. You might wind up chasing it with this…
The Case Against Pumpkin Beer
By Luis Miguel Echegaray
First thing’s first: If you love pumpkin in your beer like my lovely colleague Andy does, more power to you.
I totally agree on the fact that part of its charm is due to Fall’s arrival (the second best season) and many prefer a sweeter answer to the bitterness of other IPAS. I’m totally down with all of that. In fact, I’m not even a beer snob. I’m Peruvian. Give me a cold Cusqueña (look it up) and a Lomo Saltado (look it up) and I’m one happy S.O.B.
But here’s the thing: The over indulgence of Pumpkin is on the verge of destroying the simplistic essence of pumpkin itself. You feel me? Like Frank Bruni said in the New York Times, pumpkin spice is America—the over-marketing, the over-selling, the constant lying to the public as if to make us believe that pumpkin spice is really a thing that we desperately need.
I mean, we have pumpkin ice cream (which is fine, I actually don’t mind it) and thanks to Starbucks we are blessed with the globalization of pumpkin spice lattes (every time I head to Starbucks to place an order for my wife I feel as if I’m reading a Dr. Seuss poem) and this is all fine. I’ll bite the bullet on these two.
But when you see Pumpkin beer, pumpkin shampoo, pumpkin deodorant and PUMPKIN PIZZA (these are all real), then we really have to question what is it that we want from life? What do we want for our children and more importantly what can we do to stop this?
Will our kids live in some kind of pumpkin-spice-dystopia where pumpkin spice has literally taken over everything? For god’s sake, we are meant to look forward to the Fall, not fear it.
Leonardo da Vinci once said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Well, the simplicity of pumpkin is dying before our very eyes.
This story originally appeared on Sports Illustrated.