Glassware: Roadsmary’s Baby offers a wonderfully complex and inviting pumpkin spice aroma that is subtle yet powerful, and glassware that allows the beer to warm slowly and trap the aromatics is best suited for the beer. A snifter, nonic pint glass, tulip, or Willi Beecher pub glass are the best choices.
Description: Roadsmary’s Baby pours a deep copper brown with a thick tan off white head that leaves a thin lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with pumpkin spice notes with cinnamon and nutmeg leading the charge followed by hints of caramel malts, vanilla, oak, and if you allow the beer to warm slightly, a touch of rum. The taste follows the nose with spices leading the charge, but the sweet malts immediately follow and keep things in a harmonious balance. The slightly spicy/earthy hops make an appearance mid-palate. The oak, vanilla, and rum flavors are apparent throughout the experience, dancing around all the aforementioned flavors, but they truly come through at the end. This is a fantastic and surprisingly complex beer. The medium-full body and moderate carbonation gives this beer a refreshing quality that will help stave off any palate fatigue. Roadsmary’s Baby may sound like a gimmicky name for a beer, but this beer is far from any kind of gimmick. It is one of the best pumpkin beers on the market and must be tried this fall season.
Food Pairing: As the temperature continues to fall, the need for warm meals becomes ever more pressing, and a hearty beer such as this goes perfectly with hearty fall dishes. Roadsmary’s Baby has enough body and malt presence to find a perfect home when paired with roasted chicken dishes. The malts will instantly gravitate toward the natural sweetness in the dish and the subtle spices will elevate the chicken to new heights. Do not be afraid to pile the recent vegetable harvest high, they will be the perfect accompaniment and bring out the earthy hops and rum flavor locked within the beer. The sweetness of the beer makes it a great match with a wide variety of desserts but goes exceptionally well with any pumpkin and carrot cake as the spices in both will be the perfect match for the beer. When pairing with desserts the decadent vanilla becomes ever more present and seemingly melt into the sugary sweet dishes. No matter what the pairing decision is Roadsmary’s Baby has enough depth and complexity to hold its own. This is also a great beer to enjoy while “sampling” the kids candy rewards after trick-or-treating!
The Final Word: Pumpkin beers are always a tough recommendation because of the seemingly divisive nature of the beer. It is a style that many seem to love or hate. Roadsmary’s Baby stands firm but expands upon the pumpkin beer style. The addition of spices and vanilla are straight forward for the style, but the aging in rum barrels without a very high ABV is what separates this beer from the rest. The subtle notes of oak and rum permeate this beer and add a wonderful complex amount of variety and flavor without making it a one-and-done. This is a pumpkin beer perfect for any Halloween horror movie marathon.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer- Two Roads Brewing Company
Beer- Roadsmary’s Baby
Style- Pumpkin Ale
Rating – WWWWV