Beer: The Great Pumpkin beer tasting rises tonight

The Great Pumpkin of pumpkin beer tastings is rising out of the patch starting at 6 tonight at 3 Sons Dogs & Suds beer store, Pine.

Owner Bill Sukitch, who has seen interest in this brew grow, has "hoarded" at least 13 pumpkin beers, some of which he says are rare in this market, for free tasting.

Even if you don't think pumpkin-flavored beer is scary, some of the names of some of the rare beers are: Michigan Brewing Screamin' Pumpkin Spiced Ale? Arcadia (also Mich.) Jaw Jacker Pumpkin Ale?

Dozens of brewers around the country make some kind of pumpkin brew, which some say is getting as or more popular than Oktoberfest beers.

You can find them at area brewpubs such as the Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville, where Andrew Maxwell has whipped up Pumpkin's Pumpkin Spice, brewed with more than 400 pounds of Murrysville pumpkins that were picked, roasted, and added to the mash. The beer was aged with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to become "pumpkin pie in a glass."

Beers with metallic finish

Pennsylvania brewers grabbed 10 medals -- half of them gold -- this past weekend at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

The 2,793 beers meant three days of hard work -- ahem -- for 100-some judges, who gave out 222 medals in 75 beer style categories. Here's where Pennsylvania shone:

• Aged Beer, Ale or Lager (30 entries) Gold: Broad Street Barleywine, Rock Bottom Brewery, King of Prussia.

• German-Style Pilsener (47 entries) Gold: Pikeland Pils, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Royersford.

Silver: Prima Pils, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown.

• Vienna Style Lager (37 entries) Bronze: Stoudts Ofest, Stoudts Brewing Co., Adamstown.

German Style Märzen (58 entries) Gold: Victory Festbier, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown.

Bock (23 entries) Gold: Troegenator, Tröegs Brewing Co., Harrisburg.

• German Style Strong Bock (22 entries) Bronze: Instigator, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Royersford.

• South German Style (60 entries) Silver: Stoudts Weizen, Stoudts Brewing Co., Adamstown.

• French and Belgian Style Saison (35 entries) Gold: Saison Vautour, McKenzie Brew House, Malvern.

• Belgian-Style Sour Ale (28 entries) Bronze: Kriek de Hill, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Media. For more, visit

Pennsylvania Brew-Fest

Pennsylvania brews will be celebrated and sipped beginning at 7 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 3 as the Pennsylvania Brew-Fest comes to the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts in New Castle, Lawrence County. You can check out the current exhibit while you taste the wares from 2007 Great American Beer Festival medal winners Stoudts, Troegs and Victory, as well as Pittsburgh Brewing and Weyerbacher in Easton. The mood is to be "black and gold" with a tailgate-style buffet of wings, sausage rolls, pizza, chicken kabobs and more. There's even a football pool with prizes from $50 to $500 (based on the results of the next day's Steelers-Browns game).

Tickets are $45 ($35 for Hoyt members). Call 724-652-2882 or visit

More medals coming

The Sharp Edge's Best of the 'Burgh Homebrew Competition lets you sample the gold medal-winners from all four of its categories and pick a "best of show" from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse in Crafton. A big batch of the winning brew will be made by the East End Brewing Co. in Homewood. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door (412-922-8118 or

An event with repeal

Reader Ben Kavanaugh sends a heads-up that on Dec. 5, the Brotherhood of Appreciating Repeal Day -- celebrating the end of Prohibition in 1933 -- will hold a Repeal Day Celebration and Beer Tasting Benefit at the Chestnut Street Cafe in Sharon.

Tickets are $20 or $25 at the door and benefit the Shenango River Watchers. See more at

Send beer news and ideas to Bob Batz Jr. at or 412-263-1930.


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