Jack o’ Lantern Mani w/ Southern Tier’s Pumking
Nails: Pumking is my favorite pumpkin ale and I hadn’t had one yet this season, so I went with it for my Halloween post. It’s just an added bonus that Southern Tier has well-designed labels! (And not just this beer, all of them. I wanted to do their Phin and Matt’s Extraordinary Ale for 4th of July, but couldn’t find it…) While I’m still not sure if I’m happy with the outcome of this mani, it was a good learning experience. It was my first time doing a…I don’t know, what would you call this? A “puzzle” mani? Sure, that sounds good. It was my first time doing a “puzzle” mani and I plan on trying some more in the future. I started with 2 coats of Sally Hansen’s Xtreme Wear in Sun Kissed:
To get the tree bark look in the background of the label, I used Sally Hansen’s Crackle Overcoat in Snow Blast:
TIP: I haven’t used a crackle coat since they first came out on the market (I want to say in the 90’s?) so this was a fun little blast from the past. I have to say the polish is quick to get chunky and I found it very helpful if I put the cap back on and shake the bottle after every 1 or 2 nails I painted. You also don’t need to use a thick coat at all, but I guess it all depends on how much you want the crackle color to cover the bottom color. I didn’t want it to cover the orange very much, so I applied very thin coats and still got plenty of white coloring.
After the base was set, I used a black Sally Hansen nail art pen to draw on the eyes and mouth of the pumpkin:
To make the mouth part easier on myself, I downloaded a photo of the pumpkin and flipped it upside down on my computer so that I could hold my nails in a more comfortable position to draw on:
Yes, that’s a cat riding a piece of bacon in space. Get over it. After the eyes and mouth were drawn, I slapped on a thick top coat and we were all set to go trick-or-treating! (or sit back and finish my Pumking…)
Ale: I can remember the first time I tried Pumking. It was fall of 2008 and we were on a NY Craft Beer Week bar crawl in Park Slope. One of our stops was The Gate (awesome place to drink some awesome and not-so-easy-to-find beers on tap) and Pumking was one of the 3 or so beers they offered for the crawl. It was love at first taste and it has remained my go-to pumpkin ale since that day. The bottle instructs you to pour this beer into a goblet but alas, my apartment is goblet-free…
Pumking pours a very bright, beautiful orange/bronze color with little to no head. There is medium carbonation and the nose smells EXACTLY like pumpkin pie. Strong cinnamon smell with the rest of the classic pumpkin pie flavors: nutmeg, clove, ginger, allspice and vanilla. With the nose, I would worry that the beer would be too sweet, but it’s definitely not. The cinnamon still carries through in the taste, but there is a very balancing bitterness to this beer that evens out the sweet notes. I’ve had many pumpkin ales and some are too sweet while others are too bitter. Southern Tier really got it right with this one. 9 out of 10 nails!
And here’s a pic of Chuck “helping” me carve the pumpkin…or contemplating how to use that knife on me: