Pumpkin Beer in NH

We're falling for pumpkin beer



Pumpkin Ale at Milly's Tavern in Manchester.

Photo by Susan Laughlin

Want to start a spirited discussion? Forget politics, religion and revenge — all New England favorites. Drop the words “pumpkin ale” and watch what happens.

“In my humble opinion, 95 percent of pumpkin beers are gimmicks,” says Paul from Bedford, a member of the Brew Free or Die Club. “With that said, there are some great pumpkin ales out there. Smuttynose’s is pretty decent, although it does spice pretty heavily. They use real pumpkin, though, so at least they are true to style. I tend to find that the pumpkin ales that come out late in the season (late October releases) are better,” he adds. Both local pumpkin-sourcing and not being heavy-handed with the spices are keys to Milly’s Tavern pumpkin ale, according to Peter Telge, owner and brewer at Milly’s in Manchester.

“Some other breweries use the pumpkin pie spice mix. We use the real pumpkin to get a subtle pumpkin flavor, then we can add as much pumpkin, nutmeg and brown sugar as we want without having it be overly spicy. You taste the other pumpkin ales and you get a nutmeg aftertaste because that’s the pumpkin pie mix,” he says. Pumpkin is Milly’s number one seasonal beer.

Tyler Jones, head brewer at Portsmouth Brewery, even considers pumpkin mass-to-seed ratio and color as he handpicks his crop for the fall brew.

“We deal with a local farm in Stratham called Blueberry Bay Farm. They grow Dickinson pumpkins there, which is kind of the original Libby’s pumpkin. It has a really high sugar content and a really great orange color. They’re very dense and sweet with a lot of sugar coming out of them,” Jones says.

“Jenni and I make a pumpkin ale every year using several pounds of fresh caramelized pumpkin meat,” says Manchester home brewer Aaron Share. “We think typically commercial pumpkin beers rely on too much spice so we keep our spicing to a minimum, to let the pumpkin flavor shine through.”

So, is pumpkin ale a woman’s beer?

“I think that most people will like it sometimes. It’s more on the edge of a sweet beer so women like it more than men, usually,” Telge believes.

Jones has a different opinion: “The craft beer drinker’s palates have developed dramatically over the years. You can’t pigeonhole women beer drinkers any more. [At] every beer festival I go to, you have women drinking stouts.”

And so the politics of beer keeps brewing.    

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Path's to New Hampshire's Native Past
    Clues remain for those seeking to explore New Hampshire's Native heritage and history.
  2. Best of NH 2017 This & That
    Sometimes cool things defy categorization. Here are our favorite odds and ends from spicy ketchup...
  3. Best of NH 2017 Fun & Adventure
    It's time to get out of the house! Take an art class, catch a show, stroll through a gorgeous...
  4. Best of NH 2017 Favorite Restaurants
    Here are your favorite restaurants - as determined by the Readers' Poll - in all regions of the...
  5. Best of NH 2017 Pizzerias and Ethnic Food Restaurants
    Take a culinary journey around the world - from Latin and Italian to Thai and Turkish cuisines -...
  6. Instagramming the Granite State
    Widely followed photo feeds such as IGers NH and Seacoast Lately give residents reasons to...
  7. Best of NH 2017 Desserts, Ice Cream Stands, Coffee and Bakeries
    Ready for coffee and dessert? Step it up a notch with locally roasted brews, ice cream macarons,...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags