Monthly Archives: October 2011

10 Pumpkin Beers You Need To Try

October and November make manufacturers want to add pumpkin spices to everything they sell … and with good reason! Most of us want a little taste of something that reminds of us a nice, crisp fall day – and boy do pumpkin spices do that for me! Below are 10 pumpkin beers that are a mix of newcomers and old-timers (one is an “oldy-but-goody” that is being bottled for the first time this year). Make sure you give at least a few of them a try! Serve these in a pint glass at about 45-50°F. Keep them stored between 40-45°F.

The Fear
brewed by Flying Dog Brewery
Flying Dog brewed The Fear with a local pumpkin puree and a secret blend of spices, but once you take a sniff and a sip, those spices become quite apparent. The Fear has bold pumpkin pie flavor complemented by graham cracker and chocolate notes. Anything seasonally spicy or sweet will beautifully complement this rich and complex brew. This beer gets a B+ overall, which is very good. 9.00% ABV


The Great Pumpkin
brewed by Clipper City Brewing Co.
Clipper City (Heavy Seas Beer) adds the pumpkin during the mash at precisely the right time to create just the perfect balance of malt, hops, pumpkin and spice. The key to any good pumpkin ale is in getting the combination of malt, hops and spices just right. Clipper City has done exactly that. Cinnamon is especially prominent and alcohol is barely noted. Just released in September, The Great Pumpkin is already getting great reviews! This beer gets a B+ overall. 8.00% ABV.


Great Pumpkin Ale
brewed by Cambridge Brewing Company
Good Grief, it’s … Cambridge Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Ale!  Great Pumpkin Ale is being bottled for the first time in 22 years! CBC brews with local, organic sugar pumpkins (over 150 lbs in each batch) and they also use organic barley that was grown in MA. Great Pumpkin Ale is fairly sweet with a strong toasted malt and toffee flavor. It is certainly spiced, but not overly so. Seems the folks at Cambridge are pretty adept at brewing pumpkin beers. This beer gets an A- overall, which is excellent. 4.20% ABV

Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout
brewed by Cape Ann Brewing Company
Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout is a dark stout accentuated by flavors of the Autumn season. Using real Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, the Cape Ann Brewing Company took a fresh take on the common fall seasonal. This rich dark stout offers an inviting pumpkin spice aroma that gives way to the delicate essence of real pumpkin. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts melt seamlessly with cinnamon and nutmeg touches that really accent them well. This beer gets a B overall, which is good. 7.00% ABV.

Lips of Faith Kick
brewed by New Belgium Brewing
Kick is a rich and tart pumpkin/cranberry ale blended with wood-aged beer for a uniquely complex harvest season sour. This beer has a very nice tartness from the cranberries. The spice notes are subtle, but there. Nutmeg, all spice, and even a bit of vanilla are present. The beer pours a slightly hazed orange-amber color with a finger of white head. It looks as autumnal as it tastes! This beer gets a B+ overall. 8.50% ABV.

The Great Pumpkin
brewed by Elysian Brewing Company
Elysian makes sure this beer deserves its name: they put roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash and extra pumpkin is added in the mash, kettle, and fermenter. This results in a rich pumpkin smell & flavor. It’s a nice change from the “pumpkin” beers that get their aroma and flavoring mostly from the spices added. The Great Pumpkin is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, so it’s not that it doesn’t have a set of spices in it, just that that’s not what Elysian relied on. This beer gets an A- overall. 8.10% ABV.

brewed by Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
This recipe won a gold medal at GABF in 2007 (back when it was known simply as Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter). TREAT melds rich decadent flavors into an enticing brew that is perfect for pairing with both sweet and savory dishes. Reduce this porter down to glaze grilled meats! More brewers ought to turn their pumpkin ales into pumpkin porters or stouts; the spices work just as well with the dark malts as they do with the pale ones. This beer gets an A- overall. 7.80% ABV.

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale
brewed by Uinta Brewing Company
Aged in oak barrels, Oak Jacked is somewhere between the average and good end of the imperial pumpkin patch. It smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted pumpkin – but it is lacking on the pumpkin just a bit. It tastes like brown sugar and oak with a nice sweet pumpkin backbone. Flavor notes of nutmeg and cinnamon are there as well along with light, woody notes on the back end. It gets better as it warms. This beer gets a B+ overall. 10.31% ABV.

Pumple Drumkin Spiced Ale
brewed by Cisco Brewers Inc.
Pumple Drumkin Ale is a fall favorite. A deep orange hue and a subtle pie aroma meet a robust malt character in this ale which tastes like toasted pie crust in your mouth. It finishes clean & dry on the palate and leaves you wishing that every day could be autumn on Nantucket! The taste is sweet up front with flavors of pumpkin, caramel and spices. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The hops presence is mild but complementary. This beer gets a B+ overall. 6.00% ABV.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale
brewed by Brooklyn Brewery
Blended with barley malt, pumpkins became a commonly used beer ingredient for early American Colonialists. Post Road Pumpkin ale brings back this tasty tradition. Hundreds of pounds of pumpkins are blended into the mash of each batch, creating a beer with an orange amber color, warm pumpkin aroma, biscuity malt center, and crisp finish. This is a great beer to add to the table for your holiday dining. This beer gets a B overall. 5.00% ABV.

Have you tried any of these? Are there others you would recommend?


Going Out to Eat Doesn’t Mean You Have to Let Someone Else Work the Grill

If you live in – or visit – Orange County, CA (specifically Los Alamitos), the Joint Forces Training Center there does something a little unusual. At an eatery named Fiddler’s Green, diners can grill their own meats! The restaurant is open to the public and the proceeds (the restaurant is a non-profit) go back to the base.

Their website says you can “Be the Chief by cooking your own Barbequed Meat on the built-in Gas Grills.” They are open for lunch M-F from 11am-2pm & dinner M-Sat from 3:30pm to 11pm. Their lunch menu features sandwiches, burgers, and salads but if you’re interested in the DIY-BBQ-at-a-restaurant, you’ll have to wait ’til dinner! Cooking utensils are provided.

A map of the base, with Fiddler's Green highlighted (Top Left Corner) - Click for a closer view

Interested? Head on out to 4745 Yorktown Ave. At the security gate, you’ll have to present your driver’s license and tell the guard you’re going to Fiddler’s Green, Building 19.

A reviewer on Yelp says the bratwurst is recommended. She also points out that since you’re playing grill master, you can’t really complain if your meat is underdone or overdone. Brilliant on the restaurant’s part, I have to say!

Personally, I love this idea! It’s like one step up from the restaurants where you pick your food and they grill it right in front of you. Gotta love it when somebody takes it to the next level!

Have heard of other cook-it-yourself restaurants? What do you think of the idea?