New Wednesday, new column on Ratebeer.com’s Hop Press. This week I take a look at pumpkin ale, a style that’s starting to make it’s yearly appearance as we head into fall.
If you’re looking for an all-American style of beer, the best example on the shelves might be the pumpkin ales that show up in Autumn. When the first European settlers came to America centuries ago, they brewed what were likely the first pumpkin ales. The pumpkin wasn’t there to distinguish an ale as a fall seasonal like it is these days. Instead, it was a cheap and local fermentable, used for beer in a country where malt was scarce. These original pumpkin ales weren’t spiced or gussied-up like the beers of today – no sir, the pumpkin (or sometimes parsnips, molasses, or cornstalks) was simply there as fermento-fuel for hungry yeast. Reportedly, none other than George Washington – that’s right, the dude on the quarter – brewed a mean pumpkin porter.
Check out the full column – and some of my suggestions for atypical pumpkin beers – over at RateBeer.com.