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Ales and Tales and Halloween Spirits

As darkness falls and the orange moon of autumn nestles against the horizon, chilling winds set the stage for nightmare season. Odd stories, real or imagined, add a menacing edge to your thoughts. The Headless Horseman…Dragon’s Sea…the Bermuda Triangle…Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England. You ponder the plight of nine witches who were hanged there in 1612, condemned by the testimony of a nine-year-old girl. Were their powers the imagined obsession of King James I, his mind altered by fear of rebellion, or might those pernicious powers be real?

On Halloween night, a procession winds up the hill from Barley village, as torches cast eerie shadows across the steep rocks to the summit. You pass through an area blanketed in frogs, where even the most cautious steps make it difficult to avoid contact with their fleshy members. The wind takes on a low, guttural moan. Clutches of something obscure, preternatural, grip at your heels as you carry on in trancelike parade. Might you imagine the gallows, ropes groaning against wood, as the weight of each human figure silhouettes the landscape? Horrors of past fear- digression from the spirit - buried in the legends of the Hill…

Two hundred fifty years later, William Moorhouse established his brewery in nearby Burnley, where it became the sign of tradition for generations. Legends of the Pendleton witches were a part of Lancashire, and Moorehouse’s Brewery reflects the lore of the land.

Beer Fox Recommended Moorhouse’s Beers

Pendle Witches Brew captivates your gaze as it pours hazy peach, its soft white foam rising up to paint the sides of the glass like a tormented spirit. Spicy aromas of citrus and yeast encircle your head. Flavors are of bready malt with crisp fruit tones and earthy spice. Zesty citrus create interwoven patterns of balance throughout. 5.1% ABV.

Black Cat pours deep mahogany with crimson highlights, dressed with a firm tan head. BC was a double gold medal winner at the International Brewing Awards 1998, and continues to command attention with its nose of bittersweet chocolate and toasted caramel. The tongue twists with supernatural delight as flavors of nuts, cocoa, caramel and earth cast spells on your taste buds. As an English Dark Mild, the body is medium-light and carries a 3.4% ABV.

Blond Witch is an American Blond Ale, brewed of sunlight, topped with a delicate, thin white head that leaves a tatting of the finest English lace on the glass, as delicate as the web of a Black Widow spider. Honey, hay and citrus dominate the olfactory senses. Lemon zest, apricots, malt and a honeyed sweetness float across the palate. The light, crisp body seduces you into an everlasting spell. 4.5% ABV.

Black Witch has the ebony opacity of a secret cavern, streaked with a dense head of tawny cream. Chocolate roastiness dissipates through the air on the pour. A full body accents flavors of roasted espresso, dark chocolate, and burnt malts. Finish is dry and long, with a 4.2% ABV.

More Beer Fox Recommended Halloween Beers

Centurion’s Ghost Ale from York Brewery Co, Ltd in North Yorkshire, England is an English Strong Ale, as black as onyx with a mahogany glow around the edges. Legendary tales speak of the excavation of a mansion beside the North Minster where spirits were awakened from their eternal sleep. Ethereal figures of Roman soldiers - Centurions – marched from the underworld, mysteriously keeping pace with the silent pounding of skulls on horsehide. A fluffy white head rises as those very figures did, giving way to the scent of flowered garlands, dried fruits, and roasted caramel malt. The tongue finds temptation in caramel, herbs, jam of sweetened fruit, a hint of Good 'n Plenty, coffee bitterness and wood. 5.4% ABV.

Fantôme Black Ghost of Brasserie Fantôme in Soy, Belgium flaunts its wicked visage in deep shades of brown with a thick white head that leaves dense spotty chunks on the glass. The intense aromas of coffee, plums, and vanilla are balanced by a musty, straw yeastiness. The body is warming on the tongue, with flavors of fruits, plums in wood, and nuts, with an earthy, peppery tone, touched in anise. 8% ABV.

Fantôme Strange Ghost of Brasserie Fantôme in Soy, Belgium lays like succulent pink grapefruit beneath an off-white head. Apples, ginger, lemon, spice, coriander, grapefruit, and cinnamon feather into the atmosphere. As this strange Ghost flows over your lips, distinct apple cider notes dance with reflections of the nose – ginger, coriander, sour lemon drops, and cinnamon. Light carbonation is enhanced by a thin mouthfeel. 8% ABV.

Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager from Dixie Brewing Company in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, is a Munich Dunkel Lager of darkened walnut with ruby highlights. Floral hops and toasted malt merge at the middle. In the mouth, these flavors are spellbound by a rich, dark fruitiness, toasted caramel, and toffee.

Alesmith Evil Dead Red from AleSmith Brewing Company of San Diego, California, USA emits hues of dark, blood-red richness. A hop monster rises from the grave and blends with fruit, malt and bubblegum smells. Taste seizes the palate with sticky, sweet malt, balanced with citrus and pine hoppiness. 6.2% ABV.

Hambleton Nightmare Extra Stout Porter of Hambleton Ales in Thirsk, England is a crystalline brown with tan head. Nose and tongue delight in its gentle fruit, light chocolate, toasted bitterness, and toffee. Mouthfeel is light. 5% ABV.

Epilogue

Lest you think you have escaped the evils of hell:

Be on the lookout for the Duvel (Brouwerij Duvel, Moortgat NV, Belgium) with his Hop Devil Ale (Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA, USA). He shall rise up against the Devil Dancer (Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA) from Damnation (Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, California, USA). The evil hands of Lucifer (Brouwerij Riva, SA, Dentergem, Belgium) may deliver you to the Witch Doctor (Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company, Vista, California, USA) where A Drop of Nelson’s Blood (Maldon Brewing Company, Ltd., Maldon, England) will take you To Hell N’ Bock [8%] (Carolina Brewery, Chapel Hill, North Carolina).

Happy Halloween!

Cheers!
 

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