Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cisco Brewers Inc. - Island Reserve: Rumple Drumkin

Over the past few months, San Diego has seen a pretty nice flow of new beers from the Massachusetts area. Clown Shoes is the most notable brewery to come this way, but I've also spotted beers from Brash, Cisco and even Cambridge Brewing. While a lot of the beers that have shown up here are a great addition to our vast bottleshop selections here, I think I've found one that Massachusetts can keep to themselves- Cisco's Rumple Drumkin.

I bought Rumple Drumkin for two reasons. The first was, obviously, the name. It's an awesome name and it can be very hard for me to say no to a beer with an awesome name unless I know from hordes of reviews that it's terrible. The second reason is that Rumple Drumkin is a rum barrel aged-pumpkin beer- a take on pumpkin beers that Avery absolutely nailed with their Rumpkin. I was hoping for something similar in Rumple Drumkin. Unfortunately, things went very wrong.

Rumple Drumkin pours a murky brownish-red color with a one finger tan head. I thought it looked pretty solid at first, but then I noticed something floating in the glass. When I held the beer to the light and looked closer, I almost wanted to drainpour it on sight. The beer had a flurry of huge, lime green chunks in it. My guess is that I was looking at a ton of hop leaf residue, but this stuff looked gack-green. I usually don't mark beers down solely on looks because I've been fooled before by a gross-looking beer. But this was over the top. Take a look at this!

Hoping for the smell to be better than the appearance (which really shouldn't have been hard), I took my first whiff of the beer. Rumple Drumkin is a rum-barrel aged pumpkin beer that smells...like an old bag of hops. No pumpkin. No rum. Just hops. Ok....... Behind the hops lurked a strange vegetal smell that reminded me of rotten acorn squash along with iron-y malt (it smelled like blood, no joke), and ammonia. I expected at least mediocrity from this beer, but the more I watched and smelled it, the more excited I got. We were definitely creeping into "Worst Beer Ever" territory. Against the protestations of my stomach, I took a sip.

There are some things in life I'll just never forget. My first kiss. My first home run. My college graduation. And, unfortunately, the time I bought a pumpkin beer because I thought it had a cool name and it ended up tasting like an aspirin pill that had been Fun-Dipped in a three weeks over-ripe litter box. The beer is incredibly bitter, with a chalky, yeast meets pet dander flavor that I could still taste in the back of my throat days later. If there was pumpkin in there at some point in time, the only remnants I could find were a gross, rotten vegetable flavor that I hope to never taste again. This beer is the stuff of nightmares. Other reviews I read were more positive and a lot of people reported flavors that you would expect to find in a pumpkin beer. So it is possible that I got a bottle that had been horribly compromised at some point. That said, I don't think I'd ever be able to try this one again. It was truly one of the worst beer related experiences I've ever had.

Final Grade: F

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 117


  1. Hi,

    We have recently launched a new magazine called Craft Beer Magazine:

    Any way I could reach you?


  2. Hey Frederik,
    Absolutely! I can be reached at walkervanos@gmail.com. Thank you for checking out the blog. Can't wait to hear from you.