RJ Rocker’s Gruntled Pumpkin

RJ Rocker's Gruntled Pumpkin

Well kids, my cross-country move is coming fast – in two weeks and a day, I’ll set off for a ten-day drive toward the San Francisco Bay Area after almost nine years in Washington, D.C. I’d be lying if it didn’t freak me out a little bit, but I’m super-psyched to check out the Oakland beer scene and live on the Best Coast!

Anyway, back to the beer. Since it’s Halloween weekend, naturally it’s time to review a pumpkin beer. I was super psyched after picking up a mixed six of pumpkin brews…and then I checked the LIBA beer catalog.

First brew I wanted to write up, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale…already reviewed. Second brew I wanted to write up, Cisco’s Pumple Drumkin…also already reviewed. Third brew I wanted to review, Southern Tier’s Pumking…yep already reviewed. Dang it Josh, why are you so prolific?!?

Thankfully, my fourth (and final) option, RJ Rocker’s Gruntled Pumpkin has not yet been reviewed – huzzah! Besides making me laugh by reminding me of the word grundle, this brew makes me thirsty by pouring out a hazy golden color, with lots of little carbonation in the glass and a delicious cinnamon-clove aroma.

RJ Rocker's Gruntled Pumpkin glass

Tastewise, Gruntled Pumpkin is pretty good, but not in the top tier of pumpkin brews. The first sip starts out crisp and light, with a nice pumpkin pie flavor, but the spiciness doesn’t really last through the middle, and it ends on a bit of a sour and flat note. There’s also lots of mouthfeel on this brew, and it sticks around for a while without any of the side benefits a great-tasting beer provides.

Overall, I’d give this brew a solid meh. If you LOVE pumpkin brews, you’ll probably enjoy Gruntled Pumpkin. But if you’re not super into pumpkin beers, I’d go with one of the aforementioned options.

Sampling Oakland’s Best Local Breweries


Hey everyone, long time no review! If it seems like I disappeared from Earth, it’s because I’ve been frantically trying to get everything squared away for a cross-country move to Oakland, California – in addition to an insane workload lately. Phew.

This weekend I’m in Oakland trying to find a place to live. The rental market is INSANE here, with dozens of people lined up 15 minutes before an open house starts, and landlords exacting crazy concessions. From having to write a letter to one saying why I they should consider me, to another interviewing me for 15 minutes, it’s been quite stressful. Good thing, then, I stumbled onto a great local beer festival on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue area last night!

I got to sample five local breweries’ best offerings, and came away super stoked to start exploring the San Francisco Bay Area beer scene. Here are the highlights:

  • Line 51 Brewery’s High Plains Drifter Imperial IPA: Named after an Oakland bus line, this brewery is proud to be one of the first downtown breweries, and the High Plains Drifter is a super hoppy and dry IPA, with tons of floral notes toward the end. I definitely enjoyed this, but it’s not for people who don’t love insane hops.photo 2 (1)
  • Lucky Devil Brewery’s Great Belgian: Another Oakland-based brewery, but this one’s definitely got a Belgium theme. Their Great Belgian is just their second brew, but it’s super spicy with tons of coriander notes, and a perfect amount of sweetness on the end.
  • HenHouse Brewing Company’s Saison: This Petaluma-based brewery absolutely CRUSHES saisons. This brew is super drinkable, has tons of citrus and grassy flavors throughout, and ends on an incredible black pepper note on the end.photo 4
  • Golden State Cider’s Mighty Dry Hard Cider: I had to try this cider because I know how much Melissa loves them, and it was well worth the effort. When talking to co-founder and super-cool dude Nils Reid, I learned they use no concentrate, no water, and no sugar – just apple juice. Great cider, great story.photo 2
  • Altamont Beer Works‘ Rich Mahogony: This brewery seems to have the most beer choices of any that I saw, but I’m super glad I picked this one. It’s a red ale, but super stanky-hoppy with a really balanced maltiness, and a great beer to end on.photo 1