Must Try Thanksgiving Craft Beers
Halloween is not the only time to appreciate Pumpkins. With the US Thanksgiving Holiday just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to savor Pumpkin related offerings and yes that includes pumpkin soup, rice, pancakes, the famous pies and yes even Beer!
Thanksgiving in the US falls on the fourth Thursday in November and is an important public holiday. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrim after their first harvest in 1621 to honor God for their first fruits from their new American home.
Pumpkins are a type of squash and originated in the North/Central/South America and were farmed by the Native Americans. It’s the Natives that introduced Pumpkins to the Pilgrims and the rest is literally history.
Pumpkin Beers have been the butt of many jokes but in all honesty are wonderful to savor and enjoy. For folks like me, it reminds me of Fall from my days spent in the US & Canada that serve as a gentle reminder that Thanksgiving & Christmas are just around the corner and also of my immediate family in the US.
Craft Beer is about experimenting with not just fruits & spices but other exotic ingredients including locally grown pumpkins.
Recipes typically include a grain bill that consists of pale, dark and specialty malts along with baked or roasted pumpkins. Hops take a back seat for this recipe and are typically noble and are added along with a bouquet of spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg and others) at various points during the boil. Fermentation is accomplished typically by a European ale yeast.
This is just a rough guideline. Each brewpub/craft brewery will obviously customize theirs.
Pumpkin Beers In Bangalore
If you’re in Bangalore and looking for a Pumpkin Beer, don’t lose hope! Here are two wonderfully brewed Pumpkin Pies that are quite different in their flavor profiles.
These batches may run out, so please do call ahead and ask before heading out to these venues!
If they’ve completely sold out, ask your Beer enthusiast friends to make you a batch or friends coming in from abroad to bring you a few bottles of Pumpkin Ale such as these American beauties from Southern Tier, Elysian Brewing, Rogue, Schlafly & Shipyard
I remember trying the Chatoe Rogue in Canada – a nice medium bodied balanced sessionable ale made with Rogue’s pumpkins form their little patch.
If this weren’t India or rather Karnataka and you could indeed find Pumpkin Beers at the stores, their pair well with a nice range of desserts – of course Pumpkin Pie but you could pair it with pancakes like these my mum made recently that were enriched with cocoa, coconut and a few spices.
Toit – Pumpkin Ale
5.1 % ABV
Appearance – Amber with a nice white head, slightly hazy.
Aroma – Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon & ginger
Flavor – Medium bodied , lots of sweetness from the jaggery used with the spices revealing themselves in the finish. Low in bitterness.
Impression – Essentially a Pumpkin Pie in liquid form. Great for a pint or two but not entirely sessionable, this Beer is a great way to kick start your evening.
Alternatives – If this Beer isn’t on tap and you want something with a hint of spice, do try the Tintin Toit – their rendition of a classic Hoegaarden style Belgian Wit brewed with orange peels and freshly crushed coriander.
If you really want something ‘spicy’ and you’re craving bitter, try the Colonial Toit to get a nice dose of hoppy goodness! Think of Hops as the spice of Beer.
Find them on Zomato – HERE
Arbor Brewing Co India – Pumpkin Ale
6.2 % ABV
Appearance – Dark Brown, cloudy with an off white head.
Aroma – A bouquet of spices on the nose with ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon assaulting your nose along with hints of nuttiness from the malt. It’s quite tricky to detect the cardamon used.
Flavor – Unlike the Beer at Toit this medium bodied brew has less sweetness, hints of roasted pumpkin, caramel notes and more of a bite from the spices all the way through but low in bitterness.
Impression – The fact that this is lower in sweetness in my opinion makes it much more sessionable and in general very nicely done.
Alternatives – If this Beer isn’t on tap and you want something with a hint of spice/perfume, do try the Smooth Criminal – organic honey mixed in with fresh lavender flowers to give you a wonderful sweet, aromatic bouquet and at 8% ABV surprisingly strong although not evident on the palate.
If you really want something ‘spicy’ and you’re craving bitter, try the Raging Elephant IPA to get a nice dose of hoppy goodness! Think of Hops as the spice of Beer.
Find Them on Zomato – HERE
It’s interetsting to note how different the same special from both Arbor and Toit are. It all has to do with personal preference. Toit’s ale is definitely a lot sweeter thanks to the added jaggery, lighter because of the malt bill used compared to Arbor’s darker brew with caramel notes from the malt and more of the spices coming through with less sweetness.
Something I always tell friends is to keep an open mind when it comes to Beers. Don’t just be a creature of habit and choose the same beers over and over again. There really are thousands of different Beer styles out there besides Hefeweizens and Blondes! Try out the specials, if not a pint then at least ask for a sampler.
Cheers and as always Stay Frothy!
JJ The Keg
All Images Courtesy: Tales Of Froth unless otherwise specified. (Cover Image : Drinks.seriouseats.com)