Pints of Fear: 10 Craft Beers for Halloween
Ahead of the spookiest night of the year, we pull together a drinks list that's equal parts delicious brewing and terrifying graphic design
5.9% Sour from Stewart Brewing / Brewdog
Stewart's contribution to this year's Collabfest slate, the beer itself is a Sour that benefits from extra lemon zest added at the dry-hopping stage. Also, it's called Corpse Reviver, so it pretty much qualifies for this round-up by default.
6% Pumpkin Ale from Keith Brewery
So the label isn't the scariest – in fact if you have a friend or colleague named Keith and a puerile sense of humour then it's an absolute laugh riot – but this is a beer that celebrates the classic connection between Halloween and pumpkins. Why risk covering yourself in bits of squash and/or accidentally stabbing yourself in the course of carving your own face in a vegetable when you can kick back with a beer instead?
Fear of Ghosts
6% Smoked Sour Farmhouse Wheat Ale from Stillwater
Spooky name? Check. Faintly terrifying label featuring three heads, only one of which appears to be attached to a body? Check. A description that sounds like a Frankenstein's monster of beer styles, but still leaves you fancying a bottle? Check. Given that Stillwater is a nomadic brewery run by a former techno DJ, this all seems par for the course.
8% Wild Ale from Mikkeller
The Danish brewery's tribute to the Trappist Ale of the Orval brewery in Belgium, it's the hand burrowing out from the beer on the trademark cartoon label that makes this one stand out. Actually, let's read on and find out a bit more about this one. "The potent Brettanomyces culture makes It’s Alive continue to develop in the bottle." Oh Christ, it's actually alive! Run!
9% Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Flying Dog
It features the seminal seasonal ingredient of pumpkin, an appropriately dark title, and a label that features a snarling hell-dog who appears to be spitting paint all over the place. In many ways it's the perfect Halloween beer; the only minor issue is that 9% A.B.V., so maybe just stick to one or two.
8% Stout from Brewdog
Chocolate, coffee and vanilla flavours abound in this Brewdog limited edition, while the accompanying artwork from design duo The Red Dress sits somewhere between a portrait of noted occultist Aleister Crowley and the cover of infamous 'drive around running people over' 90s video game Carmegeddon.
6.2% Dark IPA from Black Sheep
Come on people, it's a beer named after a sheep-eating monster! This effort from Yorkshire brewery Black Sheep combines chocolatey flavours with a hoppy twang, and the can features a delightfully puzzled monster looming from within a tree. Lovely eyebrows though...
And now three expert selections from Niall Kennedy of the Wee Beer Shop in Glasgow's Southside...
A rare beast of a beer is Club of Slaughters by Wylam. Its an oxymoron – an 8.8% vegan stout: a style usually brewed using fish guts to clarify the beer or lactose to sweeten it. Not that you’d notice with this one because its as black as hell, like you’d expect of a stout. Roasty, malty, chocolatey and with smoky spice, this ‘slaughterhouse stout’ is scarily delicious.
Jake the Alligator Man is a mummified half-man, half-alligator cryptid from the US of A. You wouldn’t want to run into him on a dark night, but Alligator Man by Tempest (9.2% Double IPA), on the other hand, would be most welcome. It’s a monster Imperial IPA, hoppy of course, and also fruity and with some sweet caramel notes. Snap this up.
You might not want any skeletons in your closet but you’d certainly want some cans of Skeleton Blues. This 5.2% pale beer from Stewart is a juicy creature from the depths of darkest Edinburgh. Light and easy to drink, it’s a hop bomb, true, but the oats give it loads of body (unusual for a skeleton).