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New Brew for a New Season: Pumpkin Sour

It’s that time of year: the leaves are changing colors, the nights are getting cooler… Or so we’re told. Here in the Bay Area it’s the food that marks the changing seasons more than the weather, and with squash replacing berries and fruits in the local farmer’s markets, it’s clear that autumn is on the way.

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To celebrate the fall harvest, we’re thrilled to announce the release of a brand new brew, Pumpkin Sour.

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The name is deceptively simple, and on paper Pumpkin Sour fits neatly into fall beer expectations. “It has all the classic parts of pumpkin beer, like the spices and roasted malts and, of course, pumpkins,” explains our brewmaster, Jesse Friedman. “But we’ve rearranged those ingredients and crafted a sour bourbon barrel aged beer.”

Pumpkin Sour began as a beautiful brown ale, which we brewed with plenty of heirloom pumpkins from Annabelle Lenderink’s farm, La Tercera, in Bolinas. Annabelle’s pumpkins were broken down and roasted whole–seeds, skin, and all. “This gave us sweet, caramelized pumpkins that, when added to the mash, created a unique, real pumpkin flavor,” says Jesse.

All of that deep, pumpkin-y brew was transferred into freshly emptied, whiskey-soaked Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels and wine barrels with some essential pumpkin pie spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. 

After months of aging and absorbing complex oak, vanilla, and bourbon flavors from the barrels (and plenty of tastings along the way), we blended the wine and bourbon barrels back together for a finished brew that strives for balance between malty sweetness, roasty pumpkins, rich spices, and underlying tartness.

“The result is something we really love: a pumpkin beer that evokes the fall flavors and weather, without any of the cliches attached to the usual squash seasonals,” Jesse explains. “Think of it as our ‘anti-pumpkin beer’ pumpkin beer.”

If you’d like to know more about La Tercera farms, visit: http://ecologycenter.org/farmersmarkets/fmvendors/la-tercera-3/