The Divisive Pumpkin Ale

on 11/10/11 at 1:45 pm


It’s that time of year again. Breweries all over the country have started to roll out their fall specials, the ones that most people seem to either love or hate. There is no in between.

Some beer styles are loved, some are ardently despised, but none is more divisive than pumpkin ales. Those who love them wait all year for their seasonal release; others can’t even broach the subject without foaming at the mouth. “I hate pumpkin beers,” wrote my friend and Washington City Paper beer writer Orr Stuhl. “Even picking a ‘favorite’ — say, Dogfish Head’s — is like picking a favorite airborne illness.”

And yet, every fall, dozens of breweries roll them out, often loaded up with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger — and beer lovers drink them up. And there are more and more every year: this year Shipyard, a brewery in Portland, Maine, plans to make some 400,000 cases of their Pumpkinhead ale — by far the largest volume of any beer it produces, even the ones made year round. Like most breweries, Shipyard will stop brewing Pumpkinhead around Halloween — meaning that by November, the last of the pumpkin beers, like the gourds themselves, will be on sale and then gone.

FULL STORY via the Atlantic

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