Pumpkin Beers Round 2! Last time, we discussed some awesome Pumpkin Ales and Lagers from around the U.S. This time, we’re going to talk Pumpkin Beers that are brewed right here in Colorado! Whether they come in bottles, cans or growlers, there’s a variety of great tasting gourds waiting for you. Take a look.
Tommyknocker Brewery, Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale. The Idaho Springs brewery first released their Small Batch Pumpkin Harvest Ale in 2011. This 5% ABV beer retails for $7.99/ 6-pack. The beer poured a very dark, ruby red color with a 1-finger, off-white head. The aroma was malt, dark fruit and molasses. Where’s the pumpkin? The taste was cherry, raisins, burnt wood and molasses. I was a little confused by this one as I found very little pumpkin anywhere in the beer. It seemed one-dimensional and was fairly disappointing. Score: 2.5/5
Note: My review is based on Tommyknocker’s bottled version. I had it on-tap at the brewery in Idaho Springs two weeks ago and found it to be a whole lot better. It’s possible I got a bad bottle.
Dry Dock Brewing, Half Moon Pumpkin Ale. The ’09 Small Brewery of the Year released this beauty last week and I was able to make it over for the release party. This 5.2% ABV beauty pours a clear, dark orange color, with a 1-finger, off-white head. Big pumpkin spice dominates the aroma, along with some notes of cinnamon and brown sugar. The taste was pumpkin pie spices, brown sugar, molasses and a touch of vanilla. This is a very spicy, flavorful brew. Very enjoyable. Hey homebrewers, The Brew Hut (homebrew shop) next door will set you up with the recipe so you can brew your own batch. I brewed a batch about 6 years ago and it’s a great recipe. Score: 3.75/5
Upslope Brewing, Pumpkin Ale. The Boulder brewery took home a Gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011 with this special beer. The 7.7% ABV brew pours a clear, copper color with a half-finger, off-white head. Soft carbonation and faint lacing trim the glass. Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and malt round out the aroma, while the flavor is pumpkin pie, graham cracker, brown sugar and a touch of hops. A touch of alcohol and the slightest hop bite in the finish. Very nice beer.
In addition to sporadic tappings at the brewery, 16oz. cans have been distributed to multiple stores along the Front Range. You can purchase a 4-pack from the brewery for $15, which also includes a coupon for a free pumpkin from Munson Farms in Boulder. Baby Bear Pumpkins from Munson Farms were used in the making of this wonderful beer. Score: 4.5/5
Avery Brewing, Rumpkin. Wow. There are pumpkin beers and there are PUMPKIN BEERS! This is a monster of a pumpkin beer, clocking in at 15.9% ABV! That’s right, 15.9%! Avery released this amazing concoction for the first time in bottles last year and most stores were sold out within hours. This brew was barrel-aged in rum barrels and sold for $10 / 12oz. bottle. I’m reviewing the inaugural 2011 batch, since the 2012 batch is yet to be released.
This monster pours a hazy, dark amber color, with a 1-finger tan head. Amazingly sweet notes of rum, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, raisins and booze. Smells more along the lines of an Old Ale or aged-Barleywine than a Pumpkin Ale. The taste, ooooohhhhhh, the taste… Sooo sweet and smooth. Vanilla, rum, raisins, dark fruit, cinnamon, caramelized brown sugar and a slight hint of pumpkin. This is a truly amazing beer and completely different to anything else I’ve tasted while going on this little journey through the land of Pumpkin Beers. It’s clear that some of the pumpkin flavors have faded since the ’11 release, but that’s part of the beauty of aging beers. Over time, the layers slowly blend together, harsh flavors mellow out and time can turn sharp notes into smooth ones. Score: 4.75/5
This is a very special beer and is more along the lines of Avery’s “The Beast” than a standard Pumpkin Ale. I picture The Beast chowing down in a pumpkin patch. If you’re looking to grab a bottle from this year’s batch, you had better make plans to visit the brewery on Saturday, September 29th. Word on the street from Avery’s Barrel Herder, Andy Parker, is that he had trouble tracking down rum barrels and production is lower than last year. I’ve also heard that there will be no distribution for the 2012 batch. In other words, get your butt to the brewery on the 29th if you want a bottle. 12oz. bottles will run $10/each, with a 12-bottle limit. It seems like there’s 826 beer related events going down on the 29th, but I’m going to give it the old “college try” to make it up to Boulder for this. Hope to see you there!
“But wait, there’s more!”
Keep your eyes out for a variety of other Pumpkin brews that are in various stages of fermentation at your favorite local brewery. Strange Brewing in Denver is working on a Pumpkin Porter. Look for it to get tapped sometime around October 8th.
TRVE Brewing, also in Denver, was cooking their gourds earlier this week. Owner / Brewer Nick Nunns is naming TRVE’s Pumpkin Ale, “Carving Out The Eyes Of Gourd”. He’s brewed the beer with 8 different varieties of roasted heirloom gourds and expects it to be in the 8% – 10% ABV range. Nick’s planning to spice it up later with vadouvan, which is a French-influenced curry blend. I’m excited to try his creative take on the style.
Down in Colorado Springs, Bristol Brewing was picking perfect pumpkins earlier this week for their amazing Venetucci Ale. This is a very nice beer that can only be purchased at the brewery (guaranteed to sell out!) and proceeds go to charity.
Also down South in the Springs, Trinity Brewing has brewed several batches of this year’s Emma’s Pumpkin Saison. This is always an impressive beer that can be found on tap at the brewery and in 750mL bottles.
This list is by no means complete, but it’s certainly a great starting point for you to get your gourd on this season. Grab a pint at your favorite brewery or get a growler to-go. Many of these won’t last more than a few weeks, while some will be gone in a matter of hours, so get out and enjoy them while you can. If you’d like to share your favorites, feel free to send me an e-mail or post a picture on the Facebook page.
So we did the whole wine festival thing last weekend. Wine, you’re cute, but I dot think this is going to work out. Let’s just be friends. Ok?
The fest was fun, but my heart lies with craft beer. We managed to hit some great breweries and share a few pints with some true beer nerds and good people along the way to the Colorado Mountain Winefest. More to come as we fill in a few more holes in the “Beer Trippin’ on I-70” series.
Not specific to this weekend, but you NEED to get over to Prost and try the Tivoli Helles. Oh man, it’s nice.
Jonathan Shikes over at the Westword, wrote an informative article earlier this week, covering the history of Tivloi and their ties to Prost. Take a peek HERE to learn more.
Thursday, September 20th, 2012
It’s Pumpkin Ale Season again! Dry Dock Brewing is releasing their Half Moon Pumpkin Ale on Thursday at noon. Stop by for your first chance to try this tasty, spicy brew. I was in the brewery when they were brewing this puppy last year and I’ll never forget how nice the smell was. Hey, Yankee Candle, try sticking that in a jar!
Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Friday, September 21st, 2012
Got an update from Jellyman down at Rockyard Brewing last night. He’s got a good soundin’ brew with a sweet name for this week’s Deviation.
This one’s called “Comfortably Numb” and is a 7.5% ABV American IPA with a “full malty raisin and date-like presence” to balance out all those hops. 4 PM people! “I can ease your pain, And get you on your feet again.” Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.
Firkin Friday’s back and this week Dry Dock’s got a Cranberry Wit with your name on it. As much as I don’t want to think about snow storms, xmas shopping, hanging up holiday decorations and all those other festivus-type things, this beer sounds pretty tasty. It might be a bit early to bust out the ugly holiday sweater, but for now, step up to the bar and try this holiday tinged brew.
The firkin gets tapped at 3 PM. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Saturday is the first official day of Oktoberfest! Denver will be waiting for you when the 43rd Annual Oktoberfest celebration begins this weekend and runs into next weekend as well.
This has been ranked one of the best in the U.S. by both USA Today and Maxim Magazine. A brat eating contest, live music and fireworks highlight the festivities. There’s no entrance fee, so be sure to stop by and check out all the fun on 20th & Larimer. More details, coupons and a full schedule of events can be found HERE.
More Oktoberfest fun is on tap at Lone Tree Brewing. They’ll be tapping their Oktoberfest Bier at 11 AM.
Come on out and celebrate with some tasty brews, live music and food trucks. Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, CO 80124. 303-792-5822.
Don’t forget about Copper Kettle, who’ll also be taking part in the fun with their Oktoberfest Tapping. Their Oktoberfest lager is returning and will hit the tap lines at noon on Saturday.
They’re teaming up with Helga’s, the best damn German restaurant in town, to pair some authentic German cuisine with their beers. Food at 5 PM, Accordion Music at 6 PM. Get your fix with Copper Kettle at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247. 720-443-CKBC.
For our friends up in the Fort, check out the 4th Annual Fall Harvest Brewfest. The $35 ticket includes samples from more than 25 breweries like Odell, Stone, Upslope, New Belgium and more.
There’ll be plenty of food, distilleries, cider, music and other fun things for those, gasp, non beer drinkers out there. Proceeds benefit the Animal House Shelter. This is being held at The Drake Centre, 802 West Drake Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526. Ticket info and more details can be found by clicking HERE.
Don’t forget about your friends on the airwaves. Gary V from American Craft Beer Radio will be hanging out at Davidsons Liquors. He’ll be broadcasting live on 102.3 FM and will be giving away not one, but two! pairs of tickets for the Great American Beer Festival.
Davidsons Liquors is located at: 5555 Boatworks Dr, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126. 303-224-0444.
Turk from the Colorado Craft Beer Show will be joined by Garret Frase, the manager of Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom. They’ll be broadcasting live from the American Homebrewers Assoication Rally at the Tasty Weasel from noon – 2PM on AM760. Don’t miss out as they’ve got GABF tickets to give away!
As part of the Rally, the Bonewagon will be on-site with food, the mobile canning until will be around, hourly brewery tours are scheduled and plenty of special beers will be pouring. Don’t miss out!
The Tasty Weasel recently underwent a major expansion, so get out there and take a look at all the great work they’ve done. AHA Members grab your cards; Non-Members, this is a great chance to sign up and get involved in the beer community. The Rally runs from 11 AM – 3 PM. The Tasty Weasel is located at: 1800 Pike Rd, Unit B, Longmont, CO 80501. 303-776-1914.
Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
Hungry yet? Like Yoda said, “You will be, you will be”. So why not plan on hitting up Dry Dock’s Salsa & Guacamole Competition on Sunday?!?!
Send an e-mail to email@example.com to get your butt entered in one of the 4 different categories: Mild Salsa, Hot Salsa, Sweet / Other Salsa and Guacamole. Stop by the brewery on Sunday with your entry and a bag of chips by 1 PM and grab a beer, while their panel of world-class, highly trained, salsa and guacamole judges, try out your recipe. And just in case you didn’t catch the address above, Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Is that enough? Can I put the computer away now?
Really, you want one more? Can you take one more?!?!
Monday, September 24th, 2012
How’s a new brewery sound? You greedy little monkeys! Fine, you got it!
West Flanders Brewing is gearing up for Opening Day on Monday!
They’ll be focusing on Belgian Beers and are being led by Brewmaster Brian Lutz, formerly of Oskar Blues, Left Hand and Redfish.
I’m still working on getting the full list of beers they’ll be pouring on Monday, but it sounds like authentic Belgian-style beers and a full menu are planned for the new brewery. There’s a soft opening planned for Saturday and for $20, you’ll get a peek inside, food and two beers. The money raised from the soft opening will benefit Community Food Share, a non-profit in Boulder dedicated to ending hunger. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-447-2739 between 1 and 4 PM to make a reservation.
West Flanders Brewing Co. will be open 7 days a week in the old BJ’s location on the Pearl Street Mall. Check out West Flanders Brewing at: 1125 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302. 303-447-2739.
Put ’em on your radar as it sounds like they’ve got great things planned.
That’s it guys. I need a beer. Hope you all have a great weekend!