Pumpkin craft beer rolls out for Thanksgiving and Halloween in Vancouver

Photo credit: Carolyn Ali

Photo credit: Carolyn Ali

It’s not just the leaves on the trees: the beer labels at Vancouver liquor stores are turning orange, too.

A new crop of pumpkin beers is appearing both in stores and on tap at local craft breweries and restaurants.

Some are old favourites, and others are new, seasonal concoctions. Here’s a taste of what’s brewing.

Surrey’s Central City Brewers + Distillers has just launched a new beer, the Patrick O’ Pumpkin Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

At 8 percent ABV, it’s a strong, dark-amber coloured ale that’s been aged in bourbon barrels. It’s spicy with bourbon, vanilla and coffee notes.

Central City has also brought back its seasonal Red Racer Spiced Pumpkin Ale. This is a milder amber ale at 5 percent ABV with pumpkin-pie spices. Both are available in 650 ml bottles.

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East Vancouver’s Parellel 49 Brewers has two pumpkin brews on the shelves, both with eye-catching labels.

The Schadenfreude is brewed as a traditional Oktoberfest lager to be light and refreshing. Pumpkin is used in the mash along with pie spicing in the brew kettle.

It’s available in six-packs of 341-millilitre bottles at 5 percent ABV.

For something stronger, Parellel 49’s Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter clocks in at 6.5 ABV. The chocolate flavour comes from chocolate malts, and pumpkin is also used in the mash. This beer is sold in 650-milliltre bottles.

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Howe Sound Brewing is back with its popular Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale, which is brewed with roasted pumpkin, cloves, star anise, and other spices. It’s sold in hefty one-litre bottles and packs a punch at 8 percent ABV.

There’s a new variation on the beer this year called the Smoked Pumpkin Ale. It’s also sold in one-litre bottles but is in very limited release; look for it at private rather than government liquor stores.

Howe Sound Brewing is also showcasing seasonal beers in general at its Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House in downtown Vancouver.

On October 21, the restaurant is hosting a seasonal tap takeover, bringing in seasonal beers from 19 other breweries.

For those who don’t like vegetables in their beer, rest assured that it won’t all be pumpkin ales. Seasonal styles will include everything from Weizenbock to Dunkles to Märzen to chocolate porters.

Participating Vancouver breweries include Steamworks, Strange Fellows, Powell Street Breweing, Postmark Brewing, and more.

The event starts at 6 p.m.; tickets cost $30 each (plus service charge) and include five drink tokens.

You can follow Carolyn Ali on Twitter @carolynali

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