Does anyone else remember It`s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? It was a favourite of mine and I know it`s one of Dana`s Mums faves too.
It was memories of this literary classic that came to my minds eye as I saw the label of Highballer Pumpkin Ale from Grand River Brewing (from Cambridge, Ontario). It has been an exciting autumn for Ontario Craft Beer – there are more and more small breweries showing up through the LCBO and they are raising the bar with more and more interesting offerings. I was excited to see 4 or 5 pumpkin beers show up to celebrate the regional flavors of fall.
Seasonal beers are commonplace in many small breweries around the world but it has been a tradition that has been sparse in Ontario Craft Beer. Barley Days Brewery, McAsulan (from Quebec), Mill Street and a few others offered specialty flavors for limited times but it seemed (at least to me) that they were few and far between. I imagine it is scary enough to try to establish a few quality beers and that creating diversion can seem like a counter-intuitive way to establish a brand.
Grand River is planning to bottle 4 seasonal brews timed around Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and Canada day (details here).
The Pumpkin Ale contains the real deal – the fruit is donated by Stroms Farm in Guelph. It is dark orange in color, fruity and spicy. It is very dry to taste and lightly carbonated. The beer weighs in at 5.2% alcohol. flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and the heartiness of fall. If you haven’t had a pumpkin ale this is a great place to start – it is one of the better examples of Ontario Pumpkin Ale I have had this year.
If you haven’t explored local beer (wherever you are), make sure to give it a try. Look out for seasonal favourites like this. If you’re in Ontario and can still find a bottle of this fine