Rock Bottom brewer Brandon McCarthy is making a statement about the popularity of pumpkin beers by releasing one really early: On Wednesday, April 30.
Brews made with pumpkin are crazy popular in the fall, when they usually are made, and like card stores, brewers try to get a jump on the seasons by releasing theirs first.
Mr. McCarthy brewed this one intending to age it in barrels that formerly aged Buffalo Trace bourbon.
"However," he reports in an email, "upon tasting it and really, really liking it, we've decided to reserve a bit to pour, unaged" next week, in honor of what he's calling "Half-o-ween."
"Besides the fact that I'm an impatient person and I'm excited for people to try it, I also like the idea of this as a hyperbolically absurd commentary on how pumpkin beers come out earlier and earlier every year, to the point where now, they're cropping up in July. That's why we've named this unaged iteration 'FIRST! Pumpkin Ale.' "
Everyone who's at Rock Bottom in Homestead for the 6:30 p.m. tapping toast gets a free 10-ounce glass of this 9.4-percent-ABV "severely premature autumn beverage," and maybe even a snack of pumpkin seeds.
The barrel-aged stuff looks to be released closer to the usual time for pumpkin beers, even if "usual" keeps getting moved earlier and earlier.