The return of fall means many different things. For some, it means that their yards will soon have a blanket of yellow, orange, and brown leaves. It means the temperatures are growing colder and the days are getting shorter. It also means the return of one of the most seasonally specific beers: the pumpkin ale. They hit the store shelves in September (sometimes appearing in the midst of the August heat). Then they’re gone like a ghostly phantom in the night by Thanksgiving.
If it seems like pumpkin beer is a rather recent phenomenon, it’s not. When European settlers first came to North America, wheat and barley were hard-to-come-by ingredients. If you had any, you were more likely to make bread than alcohol. In place of grains and malt, native pumpkins became an important ingredient in beer. There’s even a recipe that dates back to 1771 for ‘pompion’ ale. In … Read more