October. It's that time of year when the leaves have turned and we are fully back into college mode. This means that we have busted out our scarves, hit the books and established a regular pattern for imbibing the sweet nectar that harvest season seems to provide in surplus.
Fall is the season of Dionysus and the alcohol industry can't get enough of autumnal spirits. Emblazoned across the aisles are phrases like "The seasons change … so do your tastes" and a college town such as Geneseo couldn't be more responsive to the commercialized Halloween-frenzy.
Of course, the alcohol aficionado's October wouldn't be complete without a spooky celebration of All Hallow's Eve. The surest bet for a creepy potion is dry ice, which will make your elixir steam with ghostly mystery. There are few places to purchase that expensive ingredient, though, and touching it will likely cause your fingers to zombify.
Instead, spook up your drinks with eerily colorful liqueurs like Blue Curaçao or sour apple schnapps served in test tubes or glass jars. Pumpkin-flavored shots can be concocted by combining Goldschläger, Bailey's Irish Cream and Kahlua. For a disgustingly delightful mix, add Bailey's to peach schnapps without mixing. Slowly dribble grenadine into the separating liquors to create a "Brain Hemorrhage," which is delectably revolting.
While Halloween will surely be a night (or two, or three) of costumes, macabre and mayhem, there is certainly something to be said for capping a perfectly calm autumn evening off with a rich, smooth, flavorful beer which only tickles your palate for a month or two a year. Any brewery worth its salt -Spaten, Paulaner, Magic Hat, Becks, Sam Adams, to name a few - has its own Oktoberfest.
Some beers - pale ales like Sierra Nevada are of note - seem like just the perfect fit for the warm breeze of impending winter that whistles through the fall season. There are also several pumpkin and spiced brews to taste. Belgian whites like Blue Moon and Shock Top fit the bill with their fruitful flavor and colorful bounty. While these hearty beers make us splurge on a college budget, why shouldn't we drink like ze Germans for a short time?
As you would with the candy and treats you enjoyed as a child, savor these treats with caution; a sugar high is nothing compared to the hangover of a Brain Hemorrhage.