You know, every year, I tell myself that I’m going to do something for Halloween. I’m going to get a cool costume, I’m going to find a party or a big shindig and I’m going to relive those glory days of the youth… that intoxicating sense that for one night, you are not yourself, but someone (or someTHING) completely different. And that the whole world around you has suddenly changed into a place far more magical and strange and fantastic.
But I didn’t.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve gotten over Halloween. Maybe it’s that it doesn’t seem that special anymore, especially in this town, where people find an excuse to dress like idiots every other month (zombies, Santas, pirates, etc.). Maybe it’s that the costumes are just too damn expensive. Or maybe it just requires too much effort and time and money… all things I’m in shortest supply of.
So I missed the whole Halloween mystique this year, and was regretting that what used to be my favorite holiday was now just another day, that all the magic of monsters, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night had just drifted past when I wasn’t looking.
So I really wasn’t expecting it to return the night AFTER Halloween. After closing the bar, I poured myself a glass of the just-tapped Lompoc’s Monster Mash to keep me company as I ran through the usual cleaning procedures.
A sip later and I was flashing back to Halloweens long passed, of bags filled with more candy than I could eat in a year and neighborhoods populated by princesses and ninjas, vampires and superheroes, plastic masks, and grinning jack o’ lanterns.
The Monster Mash, a porter as dark as a cloudy October night, has a potent sweetness that sets it in stark contrast with the other drier dark beers we have on right now. And it’s that sweetness and the dominant flavors of mass-produced chocolate candies that really sold it to my taste buds as a Halloween beer. If you ever stayed up late at night after a busy evening of trick-or-treating, watching scary movies and gorging yourself on Snickers and Hershey bars, Three Musketeers and Reese’s, you may remember all those diverging chocolates, caramels, peanut butters and nougats blending into one another in your mouth. That’s what this beer is like. It’s completely juvenile, ridiculous, and not in the least bit sophisticated.
In other words, it’s Halloween in a glass. No costume required.