Fall Beer Reviews

My husband, Jordan and I love fall. We love Halloween, pumpkin, candy, everything about the season and that includes crazy fall beers. So, we have comprised a list of all of the autumn exclusive beers that we can find in New England. I’d like to mention that neither of us is a beer expert, so this list is simply based on our preferences. We will also be adding to this list as we find more seasonal beers.

Jack-O Traveler, The Traveler Beer Co.

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Available from August until October, this shandy comes in at 4.4 ABV. It’s brewed with real pumpkin and spices, such as cinnamon to make a very pleasing seasonal beverage.

Jordan – This was very pumpkin; smelled like pumpkin, a very pumpkin after taste. It’s perfect for someone who wants more pumpkin than beer flavor. It’s smooth and not too harsh or bitter.   4/5 Pints

Cierra – I love this one. It’s a subtle beer flavor with a punch of pumpkin! This is what I’m looking for in a seasonal beer.   4/5 Pints

Warlock, Southern Tier Brewing Company 

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Brewed with pumpkins and natural pumpkin flavor, this stout sounds delicious! Coming in at 8.6 ABV, this stout beer is strong.

Jordan – This beer had too much bite for me. This is for someone who wants a traditional stout or darker beer. It lacks the pumpkin flavor some other seasonal beers provide.   2/5 Pints

Cierra – It’s way too strong of a stout for me. I enjoy Guinness from time to time, but this was too much. I even picked this one out, the description sounds delicious. It was not for me.   1/5 Pints

Pumking, Southern Tier Brewing Company

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“Bewitched and Brewed with Pagan Spirit” this beer has 8.6 ABV and is one of the more popular pumpkin beers in New England. It is brewed with pumpkin, spices, and notes of vanilla.

Jordan – A very good mix of beer and pumpkin. It is a strong beer so someone not used to the beer flavor may not enjoy this one as much. It smells very strongly of pumpkin.   3.5/5 Pints

Cierra – This beer smells amazing! The taste, however, is a little too strong of beer for me. I could taste hints of pumpkin, but I primarily tasted a strong, bitter beer.

Mother Pumpkin Ale, Blue Point Brewing Company

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Available from late summer through the fall season, this ale has 5.5 ABV. It is pumpkin and spices with a nice malt flavor.

Jordan – A little too subtle on the pumpkin flavor for me. It tastes more like a traditional ale with hints of pumpkin and cinnamon.   3/5 Pints

Cierra – It’s enjoyable but I want to taste the pumpkin in a fall beer. It has a peppery taste with some notes of cinnamon in the after taste.   3/5 Pints

Pumpkinhead, Shipyard Brewing Co.

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With 4.5 ABV this pale ale is light with notes of pumpkin, spices, and vanilla.

Jordan – This so far is my favorite pumpkin beer. It’s the right balance of beer and pumpkin, with a bit more of a cinnamon flavor than some others.   5/5 Pints

Cierra – The first time we had this was in October last year in Salem. The bartender served it with cinnamon sugar on the rim and I was hooked. This beer is subtly sweet on its own but the rim really makes it. It has a nice balance of cinnamon and pumpkin. It’s definitely in my top five favorite beers.   5.5 Pints

50 Creepy States: Arizona

Thornton Road Domes, Casa Grande

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These domes in the middle of the Arizona desert may look like any other abandoned building with liquor bottles littering the floors and colorful graffiti lining the walls, but these domes harbor something much more sinister. They were destined for disaster from the very beginning when a struggling tech company started their construction in 1982 and went bankrupt shortly after. They are three long buildings and one large dome structure, all of which are perfectly geometric.

There have been rumors of satanic rituals occurring within the domes. Some speculate that it is a hot spot due to the seclusion of the area, as well as the geometric patterns of the domes themselves. While there hasn't been any solid evidence of this happening there have been sightings of a shadowy figure, and those who have seen it say they have felt threatened by its presence. People also report hearing vibrations and tapping within the domes, and there have been stories of a woman screaming in the nearby area.

Jerome Grand Hotel, Jerome

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Originally founded as the United Verde Hospital in 1926, it was used to treat many of the copper miners in the area. It is estimated that roughly 9000 deaths occurred while it was operational until 1950, some of which were unexplained. The hospital sat abandoned for 44 years until it was bought in 1994 by brothers, Bob and Larry Altherr and converted into a hotel.

It has been said that the third floor receives the most activity, this floor was also home to the old operating rooms. Guests have heard voices and sounds of gurneys being pushed down the hallways. The room with the most notable activity is room 32. History tells of two men who committed suicide in the room, one by means of shooting himself and the other, confined to a wheel chair, pulled himself up and over the room's balcony.

Mogollon Monster, Mogollon Rim – Eastern Arizona

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Nearly every state has their own version of Big Foot, but none can compare to that of the Mogollon. The myth allegedly started as a boy scouts' campfire story, however, it is believed that the troupe came face to face with the beast and started telling others' what they had seen to stay safe and vigilant.

The Mogollon is said to be 7'-8' tall and walks with unnaturally wide strides. Cryptid hunters tell others to stay keen for its' overpowering fishy and skunk-like scent to know when it is near. The Mogollon is nocturnal and known to be extremely aggressive and has even decapitated elk before consuming it. One of the monster's more sinister traits is its call; hunters who have been in its presence have reported hearing it scream like that of a banshee into the woods.

Winnie Ruth Judd, Double Homicide, Phoenix

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Born and raised in Indiana, Winnie lived a typical life as a minister's daughter until she married Dr. William Judd at 17 and moved with him to Mexico. William a WWI veteran and suffered injuries during his time as a soldier, these injuries led him to become addicted to morphine and could not hold a job as a result. Their marriage seemed to be in a constant state of turmoil, with Winnie unable to give William children and William's constant drug use. So in 1930, Winnie lived separately from her husband and met John Halloran, with whom she eventually had an affair which led to her downfall.

In 1931, Winnie would kill her two friends, Hedvig Samuelson and Agnes Anne LeRoi. It is believed that the ladies fought over Halloran and in a jealous rage Winnie shot them both. To discard of the bodies, Winnie stuffed LeRoi's body into a trunk and dismembered Samuelson's to fit into suitcases, which she took on a train to Los Angeles. During the train ride, other patrons became suspicious of her cargo after the bodies started to give off a foul odor, assumably filling the train car. When she arrived in Los Angeles she left her suitcases on the train and her brother, Burton McKinnell picked her up and took her to an undisclosed location, where she would hide out until she surrendered to police five days later.

During her trial, the court found Winnie mentally unstable and sent her to Arizona State Asylum for the Insane, where she would escape 7 times. On her final escape, she traveled to the San Fransico Bay area where she would remain at large for 6 years until her true identity was discovered. Winnie was then sent back to Arizona and released two years later. She died at 93 years old in 1998.

Top 5 Worst Horror Movie Remakes

Sometimes, you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. I guess no one told these directors.

Evil Dead (2013) Dir. Fede Alvarez 

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This film is definitely not the worst remake, but the 1981, Sam Raimi original is such a classic and cannot be rivaled. I believe this movie is best enjoyed if the viewer considers it another entry in the series rather than a remake. The original is campy and at times comical, the remake trades this in for gore and expletives. I was disappointed in some of the dumber decisions made in this version (come on Eric, who reads a book written in blood out loud) and I felt the plot was rushed, but the updated Necronomicon and Jane Levy as Mia make this film for me.

Amityville Horror (2005) Dir. Andrew Douglas

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This movie was not, in anyway the original that scared the wits out of me when I was a child. Admittedly, neither version of this film is fantastic, but at least the original had some form of story to it. This remake felt like an excuse to watch Ryan Renolds shirtless and chopping wood for 90 minutes. The plot was murky and at times almost non-existent, the characters fell flat, and it seemed as though Douglas was trying to squeeze his own explanation for the alleged haunting of 112 Ocean Ave into the script but it came off confusing. Stuart Rosenberg’s 1979 original was a subpar horror movie, but the remake was detestable.

Carrie (2013) Dir. Kimberly Peirce

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The original Brian De Palma, Carrie is one of my favorite horror movies, so when I heard it was being remade I was skeptical. I think every movie fan expects the best but plans for the worst with remakes, and this was easily one of the worst. First off, Chloe Grace Moretz was an awful choice to play Carrie, she doesn’t bring even a fourth of the creepiness Sissy Spacek managed in 1976. Secondly, you cannot put EDM music in Carrie, what happened to the flowy, violin tracks that gave the viewer a false sense of security? Lastly, was Chris meant to have an awful fake tan? Is that what the kids relate to today? I feel like this movie, as well as many other remakes, was aimed at a PG-13 audience, making a once iconic film a mess of MTV vomit.

Poltergeist (2015) Dir. Gil Kenan

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This movie took the good scares from Tobe Hooper’s 1982 classic and used them as the movie’s basis. Another good horror movie ruined to cater to teenagers, this film is all gimmicks and lacking any plot that the original showed. Other than the awful car scene toward the end, my big complaint is the parents, I mean what parents would let their 9-year-old rescue their 6-year-old from a ghost dimension?! At least in the original, the mother goes to rescue her child, a much more believable action in my opinion. This movie could have been great, but like so many other remakes didn’t live up to the hype.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Dir. Samuel Bayer

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As my favorite slasher series, I feel compelled to love all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but this was horrendous. Freddy is not a dirty, comedic slasher, instead, he is a stoic and rather boring killer. Nancy and Glen, oh sorry, Quentin, were laughable at best; there were no redeeming qualities to make them likable or even care if they died or not. Actually, at one point I couldn’t wait for Nancy to die because I couldn’t watch her moody and awkward gaze any longer. In the original Freddy had killed the children on Elm Street and eventually brought to trial, however, in the remake, Freddy was a child molesting, gardener at a preschool and was burned alive by the parents of the children he victimized. This change of story brought the movie to a darker and unnecessary place. I feel that this was one remake that should not have happened.

Top 5 Horror Movie Remakes

With most of this year's movies being remakes, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of my favorite horror movie remakes that either rivaled or exceeded their original counterparts.

The Hills Have Eyes (2006) Dir. Alexandre Aja

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The original The Hills Have Eyes was directed by one of the greats, Wes Craven, in 1977. The story remains the same; a family is stranded in the desert after their car tires are blown out and must survive against a deformed, cannibalistic family who has stolen their baby. I really enjoyed the updated gore and effects of the remake, as well as the cast, however, I do wish the remake explained more of the backstory of the cannibal family as in the original. All in all, I'd argue that it's a decent remake that holds up to the original and an entertaining story.

Halloween (2007) Dir. Rob Zombie

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Here is where I might lose all credibility; I loved the Rob Zombie remake. I saw it before watching the John Carpenter original, and I blame that on my preference. I am a big Rob Zombie film fan; I really enjoy the grittiness in his films and the soundtrack never disappoints. I know the popular opinion on this particular film is that the 1978 version far surpasses the remake, and in some ways, I agree. I believe Jamie Lee was a much better lead than the whiny, angsty Scout Taylor-Compton and at times the vulgarity became annoying. What sets this version apart from the original for me is the backstory of Michael Meyers. While this may be the most unpopular opinion, I hold true to it.

Thirteen Ghosts (2001) Dir. Steve Beck

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I just recently found out this film was a remake, the original was directed by William Castle in 1960. I first saw this movie when I was 8 years old, and it terrified me. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I was really able to enjoy it. The plot remains true to the original; a mysterious uncle generously wills his mansion to his struggling nephew's family, but the mansion is filled with 12 ghosts required to open the gates of hell. In the remake, some of the makeup was a bit hokey and I could argue that the storyline was cheesy but I liked the idea behind the "black zodiac". The DVD had a special feature which included the stories of the ghosts, something I thought really helped enhance the movie. This film has quite the cult following and I believe it has far exceeded its predecessor.

I Spit on Your Grave (2010) Dir. Steven R. Munroe

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Both the original and remake of this film are what I would call extreme cinema and to watch with caution if you're not used to that. The original was directed by Meir Zarchi in 1978 and titled Day of the Woman. The remake stays true to the original in its plot – a young woman is abused and left for dead by a group of men while staying at a secluded cabin to write and exacts her own revenge – but its execution has changed for the better. Meir Zarchi had a very difficult time making the film because no one wanted a part in it, so he did most of the work himself, explaining its poor quality even for the time. But when Munroe was to remake it, extreme cinema had become a popular niche in the horror genre, and it shows in his changes to the original. In Munroe's version, it seems that the brutality has been dialed up quite a bit and there is much more gore, but it will still leave you with a satisfied, "you go girl" feeling at the end. I feel this film is more of a well-polished version of the original than a competitor.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) Dir. Zack Snyder

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Of course, the George Romero original will always be a classic, but I feel that Snyder's version really brought new life into an already amazing movie. Snyder's film did not include the biker gang and I thought this helped keep the movie's focus on the survivors and their struggle with the undead, and the comedy helped keep the movie from feeling tiring. Plus, who could forget the so-bad-its-good version of Down With the Sickness from Richard Cheese during the montage of life in the mall. In a sub-genre saturated with movies, this is one zombie flick that should be seen.

Creepy 50 States: Alaska

The Alaskan Hotel and Bar, Juneau 

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The Alaskan Hotel and Bar may look beautiful, but it has accumulated a seedy history since its opening in 1913, making it the oldest operational hotel in Alaska. It originally served as a brothel and boarding house for miners during Juneau’s gold rush and was built by the McCloskey Brothers and entrepreneur, Jules B. Caro. After the brothers were wildly successful during the gold rush in Atlin, B.C., they invested their money in the prime real estate on which the hotel sits today. One of the popular ghost stories is of Alice, the wife of a miner staying at the Alaskan during the gold rush. After three weeks without her husband’s return and running low on funds, Alice turned to prostitution within the hotel’s brothel. When her husband finally returned, three weeks later, he was enraged to find what she had been doing and murdered her within the hotel. Guests have reported rooms 218 and 219 to have significant paranormal activity.Could one of these rooms have been the murder site, or perhaps where Alice entertained her clients? Patrons of the hotel and even the previous manager claimed to see Alice in the mirrors of room 218, the hallways, and behind the bar. While there have been no sightings of Alice in room 219, the clerks at the hotel repeatedly report guests leaving the room in a hurry without explanation.

Robert Hansen, Anchorage

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Robert Hansen was often the target of relentless bullying for his acne and tendency to stutter in his youth. This caused him to hold grudges against his tormentors which were primarily young women. As a teen, he found solace in his hobby as a hunter, but as an adult, he used his hunting skills in a much darker way. Hansen would find prostitutes or dancers in Anchorage, and if he got what he wanted from her without struggle or demand of payment for services, he would let them go after he was satisfied. But, if they didn’t comply they would be thrown into the wilderness and hunted. Many Alaskans, including Hansen, have small private planes to get to cities that are otherwise not accessible. Hansen would take his victims deep into the Alaskan wilderness, by plane, to ensure enough uninhabited land for hunting. It was not until Cindy Paulson, 17, miraculously escaped his torture in June of 1983, that he was caught. He was only charged with four counts of murder and the assault and rape of Cindy Paulson, though he did lead police to find 12 bodies at 17 grave sites. He died at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage of an undisclosed illness in August of 2014 while serving life in prison plus 461 years without the possibility of parole.

Lake Iliamna Monster, Iliamna 

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Alaska’s largest lake, Lake Iliamna, harbors what could be described as America’s version of the Loch Ness Monster. The 109 inhabitants of Iliamna Village, affectionately call the monster Illie. It is believed that it is about 64 feet (19.5 meters) long and has a square head. The popular theory is that Illie is a behemoth sturgeon. One of the most notable sightings of Illie was in 1967, as man was trying to catch it on his floatplane. He threw out several 5/16 in. (7.9mm) stainless steel cables with 9 in. (228mm) thick hooks baited with caribou. The massive creature took the bait and jerked the plane, knocking the man into the water and off the floats. He swam to shore and called for his plane to be towed to shore; he was not prepared for what he saw. When he examined the plane, three of the steel cables had been torn off and the thick hooks had been straightened by the force of whatever was in the lake. Is this just an oversized sturgeon, or could this be a prehistoric monster that somehow survived? Illie was most recently spotted in June of 2017.

Wendy Williamson Auditorium, University of Alaska Anchorage

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The University of Alaska Anchorage was established in 1954 and specializes in Law and Aviation with about 20,000 students in attendance, however, it is the Wendy Williamson Auditorium that is truly special. Construction on the auditorium started in 1973 but was halted for some time due to budget issues. When it was finally finished there were doors that opened to walls and unused elevator shafts sitting abandoned, almost resembling The Winchester Mystery House. The auditorium was named after Wendy Williamson, jazz musician and beloved music professor at the university from 1971 until his passing after a battle with cancer in June of 1988. Many believe that it is Wendy who appears at the auditorium today. Students have claimed to hear his ghost playing the piano in the auditorium’s lobby or seeing him walking along the stage. The university had a psychic visit the auditorium and found that are at least six spirits residing within its walls; including that of a male musician, could this be Wendy? A woman in white has been seen on stage as if performing but vanishes into thin air. There is also an angry spirit that has been known to get physical with patrons, particularly brunette women. During a Miss Alaska Pageant held in the auditorium, a contestant was shoved while on stage by an unseen force and her back bore hand marks the next day. The psychic stated that these celestial beings are attracted to the auditorium because of the emotional energy from the performances here.

50 Creepy States: Alabama

Sloss Furnace, Birmingham

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Built in 1881, the Sloss Furnaces produced some of the finest iron to come from the south. The owners later expanded to iron and steel in the early 1900’s to boost capital, and with this came James “Slag” Wormwood. Slag was a foreman on the graveyard shift with a nasty work demeanor and little care for his subordinates, of which 47 died and countless others were left disabled by accidents. Slag however perished in October 1906 when he slipped on top of Big Alice, Sloss’s largest blast furnace, falling and disintegrating into a vat of melted iron. It had been theorized that the workers he pushed and abused during his time as foreman had killed him, disposing of his body in the melted iron, however, this theory was never looked into further. It is he, who many believe to haunt Sloss Furnace today. Many guests have reported being pushed and hearing disembodied voices. One particular incident in 1971, the night before Sloss was to extinguish its fires for the last time, a night watchman by the name of Samuel Blumenthal, was examining the grounds when he saw a “half man/half demon” by his own words. This being then tried to push him and beat him, subsequently covering Blumenthal in severe burns. Was this Slag mistreating yet another worker, even from beyond the grave? Sloss Furnace is considered today, a historical landmark and used as a Halloween Attraction. Interestingly enough, guests report the most paranormal activity during September through October during the hours that would have been the old graveyard shift.

 

Old Cahawba, Orrville

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Old Cahawba was founded in 1818, it was the original capital of Alabama, and also the site of the Castle Morgan Civil War prison camp where at least 140 men died. Located near Selma, it now sits as a ghost town and historical site. It is occupied by late 19th century mansions, slave quarters, and burial grounds. One of the most known ghost stories from Cahawba is that of Colonel C.C. Pegues. Colonel Pegues had died in Virginia after the Battle of Seven Pines, the second largest battle in the Eastern Theater and what led to the appointment of Robert E. Lee as Confederate commander. After the death of Colonel Pegues, a young couple had been taking a stroll past his home in Cahawba. It was then that they saw what appeared to be a glowing ball of light down the path. As they tried to catch it, the light would bounce and float away, only to return again. Take a walk down these silent roads and you too might see the Colonel yourself.

2010 Faculty Member Murders, Huntsville

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Amy Bishop was a married, mother of four and a successful genetics professor. She, however, had interesting run-ins with the law, including the “accidental” shooting of her brother in 1986, she was also a suspect, along with her husband, James Anderson, of sending pipe bombs to Dr. Paul Rosenburg of Harvard University in 1993, and in 2002 she was charged with the assault of a woman at an IHOP over a booster seat.  Bishop was also a professor at the University of Alabama Huntsville and very unpopular with both students and her colleagues. She was considered erratic and odd, her teaching was less than adequate, and students even petitioned to have her removed. She was sent a letter by the Dean of the College of Sciences, Jack Fix, stating that she would be dismissed from the school and suspension without pay would be effective February 12, 2010. On that day Bishop shot and killed three colleagues and injured three more. This eventually caused police to look into the shooting of Bishop’s brother, of which she was subsequently charged with first-degree murder. Amy Bishop is now serving a life in prison without the possibility of parole.

 

Dead Children’s Playground, Huntsville

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During the 1960’s many children were reported missing in Huntsville with their bodies later found near the site of this paranormal playground. Perhaps the work of a guilty pedophile; dropping the children’s bodies off where he had taken them so they could be found. There has, however, been evidence to suggest supernatural presence at the park. Many ghost hunters and locals alike have seen the swings moving on their own, in addition to numerous reports of disembodied children’s voices, and orbs being discovered in pictures. It is also surrounded by the largest and oldest graveyard in Huntsville. Maple Hill Cemetary was founded around 1822 and now contains over 80,000 burials. Just recently in 2007, the original playground was demolished to make room for more burials sites, however, some of the citizens of Huntsville pushed for the playground to be restored and updated.