MacTarnahan’s Brewing Co.’s “Spine Tingler”

October 23, 2012

“Hark! Hark to the wind! ‘Tis the night, they say, when all souls come back from the far away. The dead, forgotten this many a day.” – Virna Sheard.

Originally a pagan crop harvest event, Christian influence led to required observance of All Saint’s Day that fell directly after All Hallows Eve. Ancients believed that the souls of the departed wandered the Earth until All Saint’s and, on that night before their being called to the afterlife, when the boundary between worlds was thin, the departed would seek revenge upon those still lucky enough to be living. As a method of escaping a ghastly fate, people would disguise themselves as other supernatural beasties as a means of subterfuge.

It’s a funny etymology to see how, over the centuries, belief in Halloween moved along from tortured souls longing for peace to malevolent demons coming back from the Netherworld to “get you” to scary men in masks that can’t be killed by Donald Pleasance no matter how much he may look like a giant, wrinkly peach in a trench coat.

Okay, Tim, we get it. Enough with the history lesson. Throw some Snickers Minis and Dum Dum lollipops in our bag and make with the beer talk so we can move along to the next house! And don’t try to slip any of that candy corn nonsense on us when we’re not looking…

Sure, sure. Just one more moment. For me, the fun of Halloween lies in the fear of the unknown; the growing, ominous sense of dread and potential horror. If done right, it builds to the jump-scare payoff and you’re left laughing having discovered that the blood-curdling apparition lunging towards you is actually your dad in a rather unconvincing fright wig. Or is it?! Mwahh-haaa-haa-haa!

MacTarnahan’s Spine Tingler is a perfect name for a beer that comes crawling up your palate and – BOO – shocks your senses with a scary array of flavor and texture. This Belgian-style tripel is ghostly light straw in color with abundant carbonation that lives up to the second half of its name. Notes of banana, bubblegum, clove, pink peppercorn and tropical fruit attack the nose while even more banana and fruity ester flavors creep up from behind wielding a blade of bready malts, yeast, light lemon and floral hops. Afore-mentioned carbonation cuts through what could’ve been viscous texture and leaves the finish crisp and dry.

I’ll be featuring this one at my “spooky suds” beer tasting tomorrow, Thursday 25 from 5-7pm at Hopjacks Filling Station along with a few other baleful beers and appalling ale. Scare up some friends and come have a taste of the macabre this Halloween.