Tricks and treats in pumpkin beer varieties
Few things sound better this time of year than settling into a comfy recliner as the sun sets after a strenuous leaf-raking session and downing a dark brown ale and a slice of pumpkin pie.
Brewers nationwide are allowing pumpkin enthusiasts to put away the dessert and drink their nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger with an ever-expanding roster of pumpkin beers. It started as an East Coast trend a few years ago and expanded to the craft breweries of the West, according to Tyler Loomis, who works in the beer department at Fisher’s Liquor Barn, 2438 F Road.
Loomis said the prevalence of craft brews in Colorado has expanded drinker’s palettes and allowed seasonal flavors such as pumpkin to gather a devoted following.
“People are tired of the same old beer all the time,” Loomis said. “Everyone wants that fall flavor because there are so many good flavors in the fall. Pumpkin just goes really well with beer.”
Loomis said pumpkin and raspberry are close contenders for the most popular seasonal beer flavors, with berry being more of a summer ingredient. Demand is so high for pumpkin, Fisher’s ordered 10 cases of one of the premiere pumpkin ales, Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead, and ran out within a week, according to Loomis.
Pumpkin beers have been popping up on local shelves since late August, according to Monty Haltiner, president of the local Homebrewers Association chapter and a beer distributor for C R Goodman. Haltiner cautioned it may be hard for pumpkin enthusiasts to get their hands on some brands of fall seasonal beer by Halloween, considering most pumpkin brews are manufactured in small batches. Some varieties are already gone for this year.
“I’d recommend buying now if someone wants to save (a pumpkin beer) for Thanksgiving,” he suggested.
On a local level, Rockslide Restaurant & Brewery, 401 Main St., will introduce a pumpkin beer on or shortly before Halloween. The seasonal beer will remain on tap while it lasts.
The Rockslide recipe includes real pumpkin and spices that make it taste reminiscent of pumpkin pie, according to head brewer Zorba Proteau.
Getting the spices just right took a few tries at home, Proteau said.
“I certainly hope it’s popular. There’s nothing challenging about it, unless you don’t like pumpkin pie and those (people) are few and far between,” Proteau said.