Mike Z wrote:I'm late to this party . . . or a maybe early for next year . . .
Have tried near a dozen pumpkin brews, and my favorite is still the regular Shipyard's Pumpkinhead. With all the spices it's like christmas in a bottle.
Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter . . . was soooo good the first time I had it in 2006, but it's been weak to downright bleech since. I heard rumor that because of the huge demand they stopped using fresh pumpkins and went to canned? Don't quote me on that though, just know I've been underwhelmed since
I don't know the first year Four Peaks introduced the Pumpkin Porter. What I can tell is is that the first year or so, they did use real pumpkin and encouraged people to bring in their leftover Halloween pumpkins. If you're familiar with the brewing process, this isn't as scary as it seems. The boil and the fermentation process are the reason why low strength beer served as a safe alternative to water.
These days such a practice wouldn't fly. All kinds of government agencies are getting involved. Maricopa Country is requiring 3 compartment sinks in brewhouse for absolutely no reason. (No brewery washes their fittings like beer glasses, they use caustic.)
I can tell you that Four Peaks and a ton of other breweries use pumpkin puree (if they use pumpkin at all in their pumpkin beers--some just use the pie spice). The puree is really the only annual variable. It's either as consistent or inconsistent as you believe canned puree can be. I think a lot of brewers scoff at the idea that you can remember last years compared to this years.