Beer: Got pumpkin beer fever?

I'm amazed at how jacked up some people get about pumpkin brews.

The phenomenon seems to get bigger every year.

That's the idea with the giant pumpkin from which the Church Brew Works is serving its Pumpkin Stout.

Last year, as we wrote about in this space then, the Lawrenceville brewery tapped the dark seasonal -- made with fresh, grilled pumpkin and spices -- from a wooden tap stuck into a 60-pound, Butler County pumpkin.

Tonight, they'll do it again, using a 90-pound Atlantic Giant, also from Cheeseman Farm.

"Bigger is always better, right?" says brewer Matt Moninger, who says the brew "seems to have come out a touch spicier."

They'll be pouring the stuff from 5:30 to 7:30 tonight.

Pumpkin beer fever will hit Greenfield hard on Oct. 27, when Hough's holds its Drunkin Punkin Festival. Starting at 2 p.m., they'll be pouring more than 25 pumpkin beers.

A ticket -- $25 in advance, $30 at the door -- gets you six tickets to try a half dozen of the brews in your souvenir tasting glass. You can buy more tickets for tastes of the others, including Southern Tier, Blue Point, Saranac, Long Trail, Wolaver's, Sam Adams, Tommyknocker, Smuttynose, Weyerbacher, Shipyard, Terrapin, Brooklyn, Harpoon, Heavy Seas, Dogfish, Thirsty Dog, Flying Dog, Rock Bottom ... as well as Copper Kettle, the adjacent brew-on-premises.

There, Hough's brewed three pumpkin beers with Great Lakes Brewing Co. and two will be available, as will a firkin of Church Brew Works Pumpkin Stout. There's also a contest for the best homemade pumpkin pie, smoked pork and brisket to eat and more.

This is the second local pumpkin beer fest, as Blue Dust did one last weekend featuring 16 different brews. Other bottleshops and restaurants have done pumpkin tastings. Boardman, Ohio's Vintage Estate store did a blind tasting of 13 brews last weekend with 55 tasters and the top five scores went to Hoppin' Frog Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin and Dogfish Head Punkin.

While not a big fan of pumpkin brews myself, I do enjoy the names, such as Pumpking (it is tasty) and the Church Brew Works' Ichabod's Revenge. One of my favorite names is for a pumpkin ale that doesn't have any actual pumpkin in it, but rather, just the spices, which are the main taste of many such brews.

East End Brewing's Scott Smith calls it Nunkin. Get a growler before it's Nonekin.

Bob Batz Jr.: or 412-263-1930; Twitter: @bobbatzjr.


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