Halloween, Sure what's it all about?


I'm having a Dougal moment. I vaguely recall Dougal of Father Ted fame saying Religion, Sure what's it all about? That might have just been in my head as something Dougal was likely to say though.


Possibly even something Ted himself might have said? My question is less ecumenical and more important in my view. Halloween, Sure what's it all about? It is actually Halloween tonight, though this will be posted tomorrow as a hind-sighted sort of post and finished off tomorrow.

So what is Halloween? To me it's something that has always been around, certainly in my lifetime, thought it has evolved somewhat since I was a kid in the 80s. Halloween in Ireland, for me anyway was always go around in the weeks before Halloween and collect all the wood we could find for a bonfire. This included old tyres and other toxic materials because were real smart back then. We could have been burning asbestos for all we knew (or cared). Halloween night itself was similar enough to now, but a little different. We would start off by going around houses and knocking on doors. Once opened we would hold out a bag and say "help the Halloween party". We then got fruit, nuts and sweets (candy), though sweets were a little rarer back then. Once satisfied, we either headed home to lighten the load of our bags or headed straight for the bonfire. Inevitably there would be illegal fireworks going on. Oh and there was usually a carved pumpkin (Jack-o'-lantern)too, something that I think originated in Ireland and parts of Britain for Samhain before becoming a Christian holiday (bloody Christians taking all our holidays). Turnips were also used at some point but pumpkins are bigger and easier to carve.

These days, thanks to an influence of American television, kids now say "trick or treat" and will scoff if given any kind of fruit or nut. There is also now a tradition of decorating the outside of your house with Halloween decorations and lights as if it was Christmas. The bonfires still exist, though perhaps less of them and the fireworks have increased to epidemic proportions. They are still illegal in Ireland by the way.
There is also the worrying and increasing trend of using Halloween as an excuse for violence among a small minority of the population we know and love and refer to as skangers. Last night (Halloween), it seems about 500 calls were made to emergency services. I heard on the radio that a group of skangers called the fire brigade only so they could throw stones at them when they arrived in an ambush? For fuck sake! It's one thing to target the police, which is still inexcusable but to not only target the people that might one day save your life or that of a loved one, but could at that very moment have been saving someone from a fire instead of having their time wasted and lives put in danger for a few kicks from some scumbags. I'm ranting, sorry.

Beer, yeah, thought I had forgot this was a beer blog? Beer plays in important role in Halloween. Any excuse for a party and to get drunk in Ireland and Halloween is a good one. What we don't have is a proliferation of pumpkin beers like you get in the US. We get the odd import and sometimes, one of the micro breweries will add some pumpkin to a batch of beer such as Trouble Brewing in yesterday's post (technically today's).
Why is that? Well for one thing, a pumpkin in Ireland has one purpose and that's to be mutilated in to some sort of face and then set on fire, oh all right a small candle placed inside them. The next day, the majority of these pumpkins will be tossed in the garbage or compost heap. Very few will be eaten or cooked because it is a useless vegetable in the eyes of Irish people. We only ever see them at Halloween. I have roasted pumpkin seeds, made pumpkin curry and pumpkin soup but I have never once wished I could get a pumpkin at any other time of the year and make anything out of them. Since I have little interest in pumpkin as a food, I have little interest in pumpkin as a beer. I might as well make a potato beer or perhaps a carrot or turnip beer. 

I can't say for sure but I think the real reason Americans go in for so much pumpkin beer is because they have pumpkin pie. Pumpkin on its own I don't think will make a very good pie but pumpkin with spices, that's a different story. That's why pretty much every pumpkin beer has spices added too, as if they are actually pumpkin pie beers. I have no doubt that as American media influences our culture further, we will have more pumpkin beer on our shelves. If that means pumpkin pie on our shelves, then I say bring it on.


By the way, if you have never seen Father Ted, you are missing out on one of the funniest sit-coms ever made. It's absolute genius and usually available as a full box set covering all 3 seasons.

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Ale,2,signal,1,Sigtina,1,singapore ipa. esb amber,1,Single Brew Reserve,1,sink the bismark,1,sixex,1,ska brewing,1,skyrim,1,slaters,1,sloop brewing,1,smithwicks,3,smoke jumper,1,smoked baltic porter,1,smoked porter,1,smooth ryed,1,smuggler,1,snake dog,1,sneck lifter,1,snow eater,1,Sorachi ace,1,Sorachi Ale,1,Sotholmon,1,sour beer,1,South Pacific Pale Ale,1,southern pecan,1,southern tier,2,Southwold Dark Ale,1,spain,2,spaten,1,speakeasy brewery,1,speakeasy payback porter,1,Special London ale,1,spelt saison,1,spindrift,1,Spitting Llama,1,Squealing Pig,1,St Bernardus,1,st bernardus 12,1,st eriks,1,St Idesbald,1,St Lupulin,1,st martin,1,St Peter's Cream Stout,1,st stefanus,1,stag saor,1,starr hill,1,stateline,1,Steen Brugge,1,Steep Trail,1,stella artois,1,steve wellington,1,stevens point,2,stewart brewing,1,stinger,1,stone,1,Stone and wood,1,stone barrel,1,stone brewing company,2,stone ruination ipa,1,stonewell,1,stoneybatter,1,story,1,stout,4,stout face off,1,straffe 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rev james,1,The Rogue Hop,1,the salthouse,1,the session,41,the white hag,2,theakston,1,Thieving Bastards,1,thirsty bear,1,Thornbridge,6,three notched,1,thwaites,3,Thwaites double century,1,Tig Bhric,1,Tig Neachtain,1,timothy taylor,1,tis the saison,1,titan ipa,1,To Øl,3,tojo,1,tokyo*,1,tommyknocker,2,Tongerlo,1,toronado,1,torpedo,1,tralee,1,trappist beer,2,Traquair ale,1,Traquair House,1,trashy blonde,1,travel,30,travel notes,1,Treaty City,1,Tripple FFF,1,Trois Pistoles,1,Trouble Brewing,3,truck stop honey,1,tsar,1,tuatara,1,Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III,1,twiglets,1,twitter,2,two hearted ale,1,Unertl,1,Unibroue,1,untappd,1,Urban Brewing,1,urbock,1,valentins,1,vandeoirsprong,1,Vapeur Cochonne,1,ventnor,1,versa,1,vertical tasting,1,very nutty black,1,vg noster,1,victory,1,Victory Golden Monkey,1,victory hop devil,1,victory hop wallop,1,victory storm king,1,video post,3,viginia,1,vintage ale,1,Vitesse Noir,1,vrienden,1,Waiheke Island,1,wainwright,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,Wellington,1,wells and youngs,1,Wells Banana bread beer,1,West Cork,1,western herd,1,westvleteren 12,2,wetherspoons,1,What Ales Ye?,1,what beer means to me,1,what's the matter lagerboy?,1,wheat beer,4,wheat wacker,1,wheat wine,1,Wheaty Goodness,2,whiplash,1,white gypsy,1,white gypsy vintage,1,White Island Wheaten Ale,1,White rabbit,1,white shield,1,whitewater,1,whychwood,1,wicked elf,1,Wickham Tap,1,wicklow brewery,1,wicklow wolf,2,widmer,1,wildcat,1,williams brothers brewery,8,windsor and eton,1,wine,1,winter ale,1,Winter Ales and Cask festival,3,winter lager,1,winter solstice,1,winter spirit,1,Wit,1,witty fella,2,wj kavanagh.,1,wobbly boot,1,woolpack,4,woolpacker,1,wordpress,1,world beer awards,1,world market,1,worlds best beers,1,wort,1,worthingtons,2,wrasslers,1,wynkoop,1,xx bitter,1,xx strong ale,1,yamamori,1,yardsman,2,yeti,1,york,1,young's,2,your local,1,yule ól,1,zero degrees,1,zeus,1,Zlatý Bažant,1,Zunbeltz,1,
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The Tale Of The Ale: Halloween, Sure what's it all about?
Halloween, Sure what's it all about?
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The Tale Of The Ale
http://www.taleofale.com/2012/11/halloween-sure-whats-it-all-about.html
http://www.taleofale.com/
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