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It's Halloween tomorrow, and Ireland has a new pumpkin beer: White Hag Samhain Pumpkin Ale, challenging Trouble Pumpkin Brew's dominance of the sector. For the year that's in it, Trouble has canned theirs for the first time. I opted to take the Pepsi challenge and sample them blind side-by-side.

Both are orange. One is hazy with little head, the other a clear amber with a handsome thick foam topping. The hazy one smells powerfully sweet, all brown sugar, treacle, yams and banana-on-the-turn. The other is much more subtle, with a gentle autumnal spice. Though they're occupying the same space, it's obvious from the get-go these are very different beers.

I took my first sip from the clear one, finding it clean and lagery, to the point of seeming plain. As in the aroma it's just lightly spiced; a modest amount of novelty, but ultimately a sessionable drinking beer first. The soupy chap, then, is like drinking Halloween candy. Add butterscotch, soft caramel and milk chocolate to the list of types of sugar it conjures. Though the texture isn't very thick, there's a certain booze heat, making me think this is the stronger of the pair. It's certainly my least favourite, lacking the spices I like and just too damn sweet. If you want something silly for the Halloween party you're definitely not having, this works.

It wasn't difficult to guess that the hot sugar-bomb was White Hag's 6.2% ABV beast, while the subtly spiced lager-like was Trouble. Obviously pumpkin beers are never to be taken seriously, but Trouble really bring an art to the silliness, creating something balanced, drinkable, and just a damn good beer, all novelty aside. But if you're in it just for the novelty, there's an option for that now too.