Co-op Brew Corner: Falling Into Brew
It’s (almost) early September: cool breezes and the rustle of crispy, crackled leaves fill the air. As the temperatures drop and the rain returns, many Northwest beer fans turn to darker ales for the autumn season. While pumpkin-themed beers can have some stigma attached (of being an overly spiced novelty, for example) not all pumpkin ales are created equal.
In general, pumpkin brews are incredibly food-friendly, and especially well-suited to meals with roasted meats, hearty vegetables, and flavorful cheeses such as soft-ripened Camembert, sharp Cheddar, and smokey blues. Add a handful of roasted pecans or almonds, and you’ve got a terrific and festive snack or meal. These selected ales from Dogfish Head and Elysian Brewing offer some of the finest gourd flavor this season. Remember: the season for pumpkin flavored beers is brief, so enjoy while you can!
Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing of Seattle, WA – 6.7% alcohol by volume / 18 IBU – this drinkable, amber pumpkin ale is brewed with seven and a half pounds of real pumpkin per barrel and spiced in conditioning with that classic blend of spicy goodness: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Low in bitterness, Night Owl benefits from a gentle touch of WA state-grown Magnum hops and a mellow bouquet of light Munich, Crystal, and Pale malts. Elysian uses both roasted and raw pumpkin seeds in the mash, with more pumpkin added to the mash, kettle, and fermenter. Available for a short time only, Elysian Night Owl is now $9.99 per 6-pk bottles.
Punkin Ale of Dogfish Head Brewing of Delaware – 7% alcohol by volume / 28 IBU – one of the highest rated pumpkin-flavored ales in the world. Since 1995, Dogfish Head has released this prized seasonal. It’s a full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. Dogfish Head Brewers use roasted pumpkin meat, brown sugar, and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with. Punkin Ale is named after the seriously off-centered southern Delaware extravaganza Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, seeing is believing). Since the early 1990s, Punkin Chunkin has grown in size and scale, with pumpkins now being hurled more than 4,000 feet through the air. Pair Punkin Ale with roasted lamb kebabs or sharp cheddar (try Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve or Kerrygold Irish Cheddar 2-year Reserve). Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is on sale for $9.49 per 4-pk bottles.