Archives for October 2009

Celebrating the Season and Loving the Local

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Hot from the oven, baby bear pumpkins stake their place among malt, hops, and yeast.

Organic is more than just an adjective of how many prefer their produce around Boulder.   It’s how big things seem to happen. Let me tell you the tale of a pumpkin ale.

Dan Hayward, of Savory Spice in Boulder, approaches me one day, introduces himself and says, “We’re a local provider of spices in Boulder and have worked with many of the local breweries. If ever you brew a spice beer, stop by and we’ll steer you in the right direction.” “OK”, I thought, “Who knows?”.

Enter Mike Munson, of Munson Farms. Their sweet corn and pumpkins are known for miles around. He approaches me and says, “Why don’t we do a pumpkin beer!?” I’m thinking, “Why not? We’ve never done that before.”

I go to the brewery and present the idea to the brewers. Alex says, “Let’s do it! I brewed a pumpkin ale when I was brewing at Smoky Mountain Brewery in Tennessee.” Dany, showing the Argentinian in him, says, “What is this pumpkin ale?!? Why would we make a beer with pumpkins?”

Not all pumpkins make a great pumpkin ale. Mike gives me pie pumpkins, red pumpkins, french pumpkins, baby bear pumpkins, and white pumpkins. We cook and we taste, looking for the right combination of sweetness and squashiness. Alex and Brian brew a pilot batch.

One hundred and twenty-five pounds of baby bear pumpkins waiting in the wings, I go to Savory Spice and Dan counsels me to walk out with the right combination of broken Vietnamese cinnamon bark, nutmeg seeds, allspice berries, whole cloves, ginger, and shaved mace (the skin of a nutmeg seed).

After a group effort of cooking and carving out the pumpkin “meat”, the brew takes place, finishing up in the wee hours of the morning. With the yeast loving all of those sugars from the pumpkins, the fermentation bubbles away for days.

Today I stole a taste out of the fermenter and the season suddenly came upon me. It’s that time of year, and it’s time to celebrate. Come join us this Friday, the day before Halloween, as we release Munson Farms Pumpkin Ale in the Upslope Tap Room stating at 4:00. Roots and Blues supplied by Chad Dughi.