Schlafly Pumpkin Ale 

Schlafly Brewery and Tap Room, 2100 Locust Street, 314-241-2337.

Was it just us, or as the Cardinals celebrated their stunning upset of the Mets last week with the requisite victory scrum on the pitcher's mound, and as the FOXSports cameras panned the glum faces of New Yorkers, did you too experience an overwhelming sense of schadenfreude? One by one, the sad-clown expressions brought us, sure, a smidgen of empathy — but more so a malicious satisfaction. Or as one anonymous Yankees fan conceded at sports blog "As much as I hate to see the Cards win, the scenes of crying Mets fans was priceless."

For the next four months, Mets fans will be replaying Yadier Molina's ninth-inning homer. Over and over again, Molina's smack, followed fifteen minutes later by Beltran's strike-out, then Molina's victory jump-squat. Hey, Mets fans: Go crazy, folks!

We could be wrong, but we're pretty sure that our lucky Schlafly Pumpkin Ale sealed the deal. It was our third of the day. Three's a lucky number. We drank a delicious pre-game bottle at work, enjoying that sweet, sweet ale. Then, feeling like the one wasn't enough, we headed to the Tap Room to enjoy a draught straight from the source. Then, after a remarkable two-hour intermission in which we headed to Washington University to hear the inimitable writer Steven Millhauser wax poetic about the beauty and magic of miniatures (tiny little replicas of, say, Coney Island, or a ship), we raced home for the last four innings of the game. We popped open Pumpkin Ale number three, which locked the victory. It was fate. Drink three beers this incredible, this delish, and the world, be it tiny or humongous, goes your way.

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale's label contains a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion." (To which we would say, "Depends on who else is on the cushion.") The beer pours amber-orange-colored and arrives with a big, Guinness-like froth. Brewed with a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, it's one of the nicest pumpkin ales we've ever tasted — better by far than Blue Moon's bland offering, surpassing O'Fallon's excellent attempt, and as good as Anheuser-Busch's shockingly ace Jack's Pumpkin Spice.

It passes over the palate surprisingly clean, without much hint of anything. But then, a split second after the liquid has moved past the buds, a heavenly eruption of cinnamon and nutmeg kicks in, as though each little carbonated bubble carries an itsy pumpkin pie. A rich, Thanksgiving-like warmth lingers for what seems like an eternity, and is as sweet and fulfilling as eating a whole pie — or a ninth-inning victory in game seven of a league championship series.

Sitting on the couch with a Schlafly Pumpkin Ale during a momentous Cardinals victory, it's hard not to love life, to appreciate the little graces: velvet cushions; beer made with care and affection; chemistry (the kind that makes a World Series-caliber team, the kind that turns words on a page into a magical Millhauser story, the kind that makes an amazing beer); and, yes, the image of a Mets fan, face painted blue and orange, staring dumbfoundedly at the Cardinals' victory party on the mound. Who cares if the Cards win the series? This night was perfect.

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