O'Fallon is a brewery I want to like. I want to like them very much. O'Fallon is located a little west of St. Louis, it's a small brewery with fewer than 10 employees last time I checked. They make some really interesting styles of beer, a Peach Wheat, a Hemp infused Rye, a Cherry Chocolate Christmas seasonal and a Smoked Porter. Cool stuff, and it doesn't taste half bad... or at least that's how it was before O'Fallon got a little too popular and couldn't support the added capacity in-house. The result was a contract with Stevens Point in Wisconsin that'd allow O'Fallon beers to be brewed/bottled on a larger scale. Sounds great, but O'Fallon's brewers couldn't get the recipes right for the longest time and quality took a big dive. I've avoided most of O'Fallon's beers since then because they really weren't any good. I've returned from St. Louis with a bottle of their Wee Heavy and a glimmer of hope that things of turned around.
I won this "Sample Only" bomber of O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye at an O'Fallon event last month and have waited patiently to crack it open. I knew very little about this beer prior to prying the cap off. At the O'Fallon event I was told that this beer will be the new flagship brew that will start rolling off of the specialty bomber line in O'Fallon for distribution this spring. This beer starts life as a Rye beer that has toasted hemp seeds added during the brewing process. It sounds like a novelty beer, and O'Fallon has been lackluster in the past, so I was anxious to test this new flagship bomber....
O'Fallon took a decidedly different direction with their Christmas seasonal. Cherries and chocolate don't really scream Christmas to me... but they're two flavors I enjoy just the same. I had a few of these beers last year and I remember enjoying them. They weren't my favorite holiday beers by any means, but they were good. When I poured this year's Cherry Chocolate and took a whiff of it, I remembered why I liked it so much. The aroma is just like that of a chocolate covered cherry. This beer was off to a great start, but would it all go like I remember? Will I like this beer as much as I did last year?
When you reach for a Pumpkin Ale you expect to get a beer that reminds you of pumpkin pie and cookies. O'Fallon doesn't agree... they seem to think you're expecting to get a watered down Scotch Ale that has some faint pumpkin spice thrown in. That may see a little harsh, but I think it accurately O'Fallon's Pumpkin Beer. This beer isn't all bad though, it's just mostly bad. So, what did O'Fallon do right? Well, this beer smells excellent. It almost smells like a bowl of cinnamon spice oatmeal. There are hints of maple and brown sugar as well. It smells like it'd taste amazing... but, it falls short. There is very little pumpkin, very little spice and very little malt in this beer. Maybe it was just the bottle I had, but O'Fallon's Pumpkin Beer was just too watery and bland for me. It smell great though, so if you're looking for a looking for a beer you can pour in a glass and sniff for a couple hours then this just might be your beer. Otherwise, don't bother.