Fall is a great season for beer. Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers head the list of what makes it so awesome. Early in the season we have Harvest ales and “fresh Hop” ales and about a month later, as the days continue to get shorter and the nights cooler, the late fall offerings begin to come out.
Oktoberfest is a festival that goes for 16 days, in Munich and has been for over 200 years. It is typically associated with large quantities of mild lagers and the malty smooth session-able light brown style of beer that bares it’s name. About 2 million gallons are consumed that that festival every year.
Pumpkin beers are the other harbingers of fall for most of us, and are a more wide open genre that, as long as it has pumpkin in it of any kind…qualifies. Some famous contemporary examples are Southern Tier’s”Pumking”..which I’ve had, and Elysian’s “Night Owl” which I have also had. Both were very good, I thought.
Pumpkin can be a component in many different styles. Less bitter and more malty beers are usually better carriers for the autumn gourd. Porters and stouts are not uncommon and Elysian’s “Dark o’ the Moon” is a good example of a Pumpkin Stout
Today I’m at 10 Barrel Brewing in Boise for their (first) annual “Pumpkin Fest” They’ve got several pumpkin beers on tap and for an entry fee you get 6 tokens that you can spend on a little snifter of any of them. They’ve got some live music and a few jockey boxes pouring the special beers for the occasion.
The “Pumpkin Crush” tastes suspiciously like the recent Berlinner Weisse they had on called German Sparkle Party. A light sweet-Tart kind of beer with a touch of pumpkin thrown in. Tasty. The “Coconut Curry” which was more like a stout with..again..just a hint of the pumpkin spice added in, and the Gourdie LaChance, which had a lot of the fall spice but not so much pumpkin. The “Punkin Brewster” was kind of an amber with a touch of the gourd and I was not a big fan of, but it was “sessionable” as they say.
There was also a beer that was not on the list, described by the server as the “Punkin Brewster” made with cocoa nibs. That one was interesting but i would be surprised to see it show up on the chalkboard.
It finished up at 6pm and I finished it up with the Bull Moose Brown ale..and a couple extra tokens..I guess I’ll use next year. Maybe then the “Pumpkin Beers” will be a little more Pumpkin-y