The Hippo


Jul 19, 2019








Smuttynose and 603 Brewery pumpkin beers at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett. Emelia Attridge photo.

Granite State breweries with pumpkin beers

Know of another locally brewed pumpkin beer not on this list? Email
• 603 Brewery 12 Liberty Drive No. 7, Londonderry, 630-7745,
• Able Ebenezer 31 Columbia Circle, Merrimack, 844-223-2253,
• Milly’s Tavern & Stark Brewing Company 500 N. Commercial St., Manchester, 625-4444,
• Martha’s Exchange 185 Main St., Nashua, 883-8781,
• Redhook Brewery 1 Redhook Way, Portsmouth, 430-8600,
• Smuttynose Brewery 105 Towle Farm Road, Hampton, 436-4026,
• Throwback Brewery 121 Lafayette Road, N. Hampton, 379-2317,

Wicked brews
Granite State brewers dish on their pumpkin ales


 How many pumpkins does it take to make a pumpkin ale? 

“Four hundred pounds go into our batch of beer, which is a 14-barrel batch,” Peter Telge, who owns and operates Milly’s Tavern and Stark Brewing Company, said in a phone interview.
While some brewers use pumpkin puree and some use pumpkin pie spices, many Granite State brewers like Telge go for the real thing.
“We get them [the pumpkins] from my farmer, we cut them up, clean them up, cook them and put them into the mash with the grain,” he said.
The pumpkin beer at Milly’s Tavern in Manchester is along the lines of a medium bodied beer, Telge said — not too heavy, not too light and not too fruity. 
“It has a nice pumpkin aroma when you smell it and a pumpkin afterstate,” he said. “It’s a great beer any time of year. This time of season, why is a pumpkin coffee big at Dunkin’ Donuts right now? It’s obviously seasonal, and people like the seasonal thing.”
Telge has even made a couple hybrid pumpkin beers, like a chocolate pumpkin (think pumpkin porter) and a blueberry pumpkin pie (with a sour pumpkin beer and blueberry mix).
The pumpkin beer is now also available through Stark Brewing Company on tap at other bars, Telge said, and it will be available in bottles by Halloween. 
Like Milly’s Tavern, the brewery at Martha’s Exchange has the advantage of using its restaurant’s kitchen to prepare the pumpkin for its  pumpkin-infused German Hefeweizen, which uses genuine German Hefeweizen yeast.
“[The pumpkin is] pureed, and we actually bake it off with no spices or anything and then we add it at two different times during our brewing process,” head brewer Greg Ouellette said. “It’s kind of an amber-colored Hefeweizen,” Ouellette said. “You get a nice toasted baked pumpkin aroma that comes out of the beer and the Hefeweizen adds a bit of vanilla and clove to it.”
Both Ouellette and Telge said that they add some spices, like cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, to the brew, but not as much as some of the other pumpkin beers in the industry.
“We do get people say sometimes that there’s not a lot pumpkin in it and we say, ‘No, there actually is a lot of pumpkin, it’s just not a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg,’” Ouellette said. “It’s not a pumpkin pie in a beer-type flavor.”
At Martha’s, about 80 pounds of pumpkin puree goes into the 215-gallon batch of pumpkin beer and the brewing process takes about three weeks, from start to tap, Ouellette said. It’s put on tap mid- to late September and kept on until Thanksgiving. After that, Ouellette said, the winter beers start replacing the pumpkin and fall beers. 
“If you’re in New England, we grow up with the pumpkin patch and the changing of the season. I think pumpkin beer really epitomizes it,” Ouellette said. “I think of it as a comfort thing. A lot of people think of pumpkin pie and spices.”
603 Brewery in Londonderry also has its own toasted pumpkin ale. Each 15-barrel batch has about four pumpkins, co-owner Geoff Hewes said.
“The reason it’s called ‘toasted’ is we do toast the oats in the beer,” Hewes said. “It’s an 8.2 percent beer, so it is a little higher gravity than most pumpkin beers you find out there. We hesitate to call it an imperial pumpkin.”
After fermentation, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean are added to the fermenter for aroma and a little bit of flavor, “but mostly the aroma,” Hewes said. “That gives it a special touch of spice and smoothness from the vanilla bean.”
603 Brewery’s toasted pumpkin ale is available in beer stores and on tap at local bars, including Murphy’s Taproom, Strange Brew and Firefly in Manchester, and Tilted Kilt and MT’s Local in Nashua.
Many local breweries are crafting pumpkin ales, especially given the popularity of other beers like Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead. Throwback Brewery and Smuttynose, both in Hampton, have pumpkin beers, and Able Ebenezer, a new brewery that opened in Merrimack this past spring, also has a pumpkin brew in the works. It’s going to be called Homecoming and was designed in the founders’ garage last year. Three hundred pounds of sugar pumpkins from Sunnycrest Farms in Londonderry will be used for the new brew, which should be available by the first week of November. The pumpkins will be roasted at New England’s Tap House Grille in Hooksett. 
Owner Dan Lagueux already has a following of pumpkin beers with pumpkin flights. 
“As soon as you put those on, even if you’re not ready for fall, people start ordering them,” he said. “People go crazy off this season. … They want something robust they want something with spices.”
The flights include Pumpkinhead from Shipyard and Pumking from Southern Tier each week, with two other rotating fall beers, like Autumn Brew Ale from Woodstock Inn and Brewery, Smuttynose and Uinta. 
As seen in the October 23, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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