They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

That Time of Year

It's nearly that time of year again - that one night where I get quite a bit done - and I'm not talking about going round to people's houses to ask for chocolates... but until then it seems we have some new seasonal beers kicking about.

Pumpkin beers are a bit of an oddity with me. It's never a beer/beer style I actively seek out, and when I do see one there's usually a bit of um-ing and ah-ing before I make a purchase - if I do at all. I seem to find that I always have a bit of a thought in my head "Pumpkin beer? That's probably not going to be very nice" I then seem to find that pretty much every single one I've ever had has been absolutely amazing - especially the one actually served from an actual giant pumpkin, from Roosters! (and let's not forget about PumKing)

I know why we get the beer as a style - Pumpkins are big in America, they love em - there's millions, and when it comes to harvest time, more than a couple go into beer production. It makes me wonder though: why don't we use any other sort of large vegetable to make beer with? (well to be pedantically technical a pumpkin is a fruit)
It sounds like it wouldn't taste very nice, but why can't we make a marrow beer? That's the point about pumpkin beer for me; it doesn't sound like it will taste very nice - but it does! And why couldn't other variations work? Spicy radish IPA anyone? Aubergine Porter? Carrot Pale Ale? I think the day we say no to trying things like this out is the day we become a little boring.

Saranac Pumpkin Ale comes in at 5%, and was picked up a couple of days ago from North Bar. The aroma is great - vegetal pumpkin, cinnamon, over ripened bananas, and a little of that classic apple and cinnamon, crumbly pie. Very nice texture, quite grainy. There's  a lot of spice to the brew, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla which makes it quite dry, moorish and very easy drinking. More ripe banana sweetness in the body, and it's a tiny bit Belgian like from the spice. A very nice beer - a close call to decide which is better, this or Brooklyn Pumpkin.

Seriously, where's my radish IPA, I'll be round your brewery in just under 20 days if I don't see people being a bit more crazy.....


  1. The name of Hobgoblin's "Pumpking" always suggests to me that it will give you a royal dose of flatulence ;-)

  2. That roosters pumpkin ale was spectacular. Can't say I've ever had a bad pumpkin beer

  3. hmm, hardly surprising the US wasn't kind...

  4. Nobody remembers the Kitchen Brewery then? It has all been done Mate.

  5. But Tandleman - it says the kitchen is no longer brewing... that's no good to us in the here and now. I do like the little snippet at the bottom though:

    "Only draught beers satisfying Camra's definition of Real Ale are listed on this site. Keg beers, canned beers and similar abominations are treated with the contempt they deserve and ignored."

    - They were only willing to put up beers with the Camra definition of real ale, but all those crazy concoctions still made the list... so you can make a radish beer but it can't go in a keg? Love it. ;)

  6. Ghostie - I merely make the point that it can be and has been done. Not much new under the sun. This innovation stuff is so tricky.

    Of course you could put it in a keg, but just wouldn't get it on Beer Mad. As for the definitions, well you'd need to take that up with the author. As for Kitchen Brewery, those were different times. Maybe he would have kegged some of it now. I recall them well and they were mostly bloody good.

    It seems to me that you thought you were being radishingly radical but you weren't, but on the bright side, there is a gap in the market now.

  7. hehe nice alliteration there Tandy, I have heard in the past though that nothing is ever really new in beer and brewing, things are just re-invented.

    I do love some of the names on there though, cheesy as they may be... "sexy satsuma" - as a beer it's something I'd try regardless of how appalling the pumpclip might look :)
    How long ago did this all take place?

  8. I think they went tits up about 2000 or so. The point about innovation is that beer wise, almost everything, even down to names and ingredients has been tried before. Just ask Ronbo about that.

    As I said - tricky.