#pumpkinbeers Archives – PorchDrinking.com
With innovation and experimentation at the forefront, Energy City Brewing in Batavia, Ill. has something new brewing every week. Without an operating taproom and in the middle of a still-surging pandemic, they have still found a way to keep the sophisticated beer drinkers’ attention and stay relevant in times of uncertainty. While their mainstay offerings continue to be popular around the Chicagoland area, their one-off offerings, available only for curbside pick-up at the brewery, are the main attraction, drawing people all the way from Chicago to make the long drive two counties over for a chance to get their hands on this week’s concoction.
Let’s be honest, pumpkin beers are hit or miss. That random six-pack you grabbed at the liquor store on your way to your buddy’s place for Friendsgiving? Likely disappointing. But good news, the highly underrated Launch Pad Brewery knows how to make a hit pumpkin beer and has been doing so for five years in their aeronautics and space-themed location in Aurora, Colorado. In fact, the business was more or less founded on pumpkin beer with Dave Levesque, owner and head brewer, brewing for pumpkin-themed parties before even thinking of opening a business. Launch Pad also knows how to make Russian Imperial Stouts, with a new release each month in 2020, and other big beers, including their “Eight Crazy Nights” of barrel aged beers starting December 16. Add this together with Espresso Torro from West Coast Roasting Co. and holiday pumpkin spice, and Launch Pad brings their delicious Pumpkaccino, Imperial Pumpkin Coffee Stout. It’s no wonder that this beer has made it to the final table at GABF multiple times. Eat your heart out, Starbucks!
During a drastic weather change like the ones we experience in Colorado from time to time, it’s easy to go right from crispy summer brews to heavy winter Stouts without the intermediary Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers. But LUKI Brewery in Arvada, Colorado, is giving its fairly new fan base reason to seek out squash and gourd-centric beers this fall: Grammy’s Pumpkin Pie.
Instead of being labeled a “pumpkin Ale” or an Imperial Stout with pumpkin like so many others, Grammy’s Pumpkin Pie is a spiced Brown Ale. LUKI’s current craft lineup contains no sub-5% ABV beers nor any 10%+ ABV booze bombs; the beers are born from owner and brewer Jeff Smith’s love of old-school styles and desire to create well-balanced, accessible (and still entertaining) brews.
As usual, the crew here at PorchDrinking.com is drinking some great beers this week. You can definitely tell we’re entering the holiday season based off the beers we’re drinking. I think you can make any beer work for just about any occasion, but there are some that perfect for certain times of the year. Here’s What We’re Drinking.
Fall in Wisconsin is an exciting time of year. Hearty, Midwestern men and women come back from the lake, stock up on cheese curds and bratwursts and prepare for Packer season. The crisp, cool air signifies a clear changing of the seasons and thus the beer aisle at your local Woodman’s begins to change with it. The aisles formerly populated by the Midwest’s finest kolsch and summer wheat beers seemingly overnight are now enticing thirsty patrons with Oktoberfests, maibocks and pumpkin beers. Oh God, so many pumpkin beers. Everyone makes them now. My recommendation, coming from years of industrial grade levels of drinking, is to avoid the constant disappointment of so many of the macro breweries “take” on pumpkin beers and go straight to the one pumpkin beer that lays waste to its vast and meager competition.
It’s a well-known (if not scientifically documented) fact that as we get older, we start complaining more about the weather. Sit near an old man on a park bench sometime, there’s really no condition that he can’t find fault with. Too hot. Too cloudy. Too much humidity. Lots of hot air these days; very few cool breezes. Nothing’s ever right or as good as it used to be. EDM music and so forth…
What if you like warm weather, yet long for the beers of winter? What about those of us who hate driving in the snow, but love football? People who are in limbo during this time of year want some beers that can meet the needs of any climate. The changing of the seasons truly is a bittersweet symphony, and as we clumsily straddle the fence that separates pre-autumn excitement from end-of-summer blues, let’s look at six tasty brews that that can help us savor the remaining warmth while preparing for the imminence of gawking leafers and poorly raked yards.
I know right now you’ve read the title and instantly assumed I am counter to everything that is right in the world. You are all chanting your fall mantras, “the spice expands consciousness, the spice is life and who controls the spice controls fall.” But I for one cannot take any more overly sweet, acrid, or overly spiced pumpkin beers. I think the problem is the gourd itself. Pumpkin, at least to the brewing process, primarily bring nothing but starches and very minor sweetness to the party. This inherently pushes the spices to the front and leaves nothing but the harsh wash of cinnamon on the palette. Enter the contender! Apple brings much more than pumpkin in the way of sweetness aroma, fall character, and a lasting drinkability that fits not just for early fall but all the way through Thanksgiving and into early December. A balanced apple pie presence to amplify an amber caramel and malt forward beer style is a match made in heaven.
ABV: 8.0% | IBU: 16
Pumpkin beers have been a contentious issue on PorchDrinking over the past six weeks. Opinions certainly differ on the propriety of drinking pumpkin beer in August, but since we’re well into October, I hope I’m not in the minority in calling pumpkin beer season officially open for business. They’re not for everyone, these pumpkin beers. They tend to offend the Reinheitsgebot in nearly every way possible. Not only do they have adulterating spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, but they’re usually chock full of “pumpkin”.