The Great Pumpkin (...Beer)
‘Tis the season for fall’s most popular specialty beers and ales.
In addition to the chill in the air and color in the leaves, one sign of autumn is a distinctive beer variety made with the season’s most popular squash — the pumpkin. For the past decade, September and October mark the appearance of pumpkin beers and ales, in stores and on tap at bars around the county.
Adding pumpkin plus pumpkin seasonings — some combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other traditional pumpkin pie spices — to the standard brew during the beer making process will produce a beverage with varying degrees of flavoring. Tastes range from a veritable liquid pumpkin pie to just a strong hint of this fall flavor. Try a few, and you’ll probably find one that pleases your personal palate.
While many large brewers produce these beverages, often putting them in production and on shelves before the traditional pumpkin harvest, local craft breweries market their pumpkin brews closer to the Halloween season that brought us this specialty product in the first place. We’ve scouted the county and come up with three very tasty products for Fall 2013. Seek these out soon, however — local and seasonal craft brews are made in comparatively small batches and sell out fast.
This Stamford-based craft brewer tapped its first tank of Pumpkin Ale on September 24, and the reporter got a taste. While I could detect the lightly spiced pumpkin in the ale’s aroma, the flavoring was not overly pumpkin-y or sweet. It was very refreshing, and to my taste buds, a delicious bit of fall.
Half Full sells their products through a number of outlets; check their website for a list of vendors and the brewery’s own schedule of events. The company’s first annual Halloween Bash takes place at the brewery on Saturday, October 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets here.
It’s been a year since this Stratford brewery produced its first product — an IPA, and it now has several tasty year-round brews. For the fall season, it’s offering a pumpkin brew, Roadsmary’s Baby, in its own tasting room in the 100-year old brick Baird building on Stratford Avenue, or through local liquor and package stores. The label has a humorous and slightly ghoulish touch:
Aging in rum barrels gives a unique twist to Roadsmary’s Baby pumpkin and spice flavoring—definitely worth a place on your October beer-tasting route.
This brew pub’s locations — Southport, Stamford, Milford and Branford, plus a non-brew pub, the Sitting Duck Tavern in Stratford, with SBC craft brews on tap — offers 27 craft brews plus a full food menu, and brewer Frank del Greco, whom the reporter met at the Stamford venue, was planning to tap his in-process, vintage 2013 Mashing Pumpkin Ale on October 1. The 2012 was a big hit, and sold out fast, so line up for this one.