Pumped for Pumpkin

Craftbeer.com

(The following column was originally published in the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican-American on Oct. 10, 2012.)

It’s easy to dismiss pumpkin ale.

First of all, there’s the ruined expectation: they don’t taste like pumpkin. That complaint I can’t really understand. Who wants to bite into plain pumpkin, anyway? Squirrels?

Then there are the drinkers for whom the style is too intense. “Yuck,” they say. “It tastes like I just sucked on a cinnamon stick.” That complaint I can get with. Who wants their mouth covered in spice? Squirrels?

Pumpkin in beer goes back to colonial times, when they used it for fermentation. A lot of today’s professional brewers – and even some homebrewers — have a masterful touch and test batch control, and they’re able to play with just how pumpkinny, verses spicy, they want their product to be.

Continue reading “Pumped for Pumpkin”

Spice Beers for Winter

(The following column was originally published in the Waterbury (CT) Republican-American on Dec. 28, 2011.)

By Will Siss

When it comes to spice in beer, a little goes a long way.

You can end up with something tasteful, with background notes of ginger or cloves, or feel like you’ve just swallowed liquefied potpourri.

I’ve got a few chilly month recommendations of beers that include spices that you don’t have to fear. Continue reading “Spice Beers for Winter”