This past weekend was the sixth annual Great Pumpkin Festival at Cambridge Brewing Company – a place where autumnphiles can come together and have a pumpkin beer without the ubiquitous cinnamon-sugar rim nor the sneers from the general craft beer public. This was our third year in attendance, and in our opinion, the most successful event yet. In the past, the festival operated on a one-in/one-out policy, resulting in a line, usually on the first cold day of October, that left you cursing yourself for wearing a dress and cursing all those terrible terrible people who agreed to hold their friend’s place in line while they went into Tommy Doyles to stay warm doing pumpkin bomb shots. There is a special circle of Hell for line-cutters, I’m sure of it.
This year, the event was divided into three four-hour sessions throughout the day, which got rid of the wait time and made things much more comfortable and accessible inside the restaurant. We chose the last session so we could witness the event we’ve missed years past, a monk-led procession leading to the tapping of a giant pumpkin filled with CBC’s Great Pumpkin Ale.
This is a great place to experience interpretations of pumpkin beer you’ve never imagined. But truth be told, at least for me, it’s about pretzel rolls with beer mustard and pumpkin ale braised sauerkraut and hanging out with robots. Oh, and commemorative glassware.
Here’s some of my evening’s most memorable beers:
CBC Stout at the Devil – 666# of pale malt, 6.66 oz. of Devil’s Claw herb, a 6.66% ABV – how can you not love this devilish beer? Plus add to the fact that this is their 2011 version that has been aging on Brettanomyces barrels. “It’s all for you, CBC!” ~*Jumps off balcony*~
Jack’s Abby Pumpkin Crop Lager – A perfect blend of autumnal spices mixed with locally sourced pumpkins makes for a crisp lager with a well-done pumpkin profile without any of the sugary sweetness.
Iron Hill Pumpkin Berliner Weisse – Tons of candied pumpkin and sugar cookies with some tart lemon characteristics. Very interesting and enjoyable.
Avery Rumpkin – Ahhh the venerable Rumpkin; aged in fresh rum barrels and clocking in at a monstrous 18%. Yes, it’s totally overwhelming and like taking a shot of pumpkin pie rum, but it’s still complex, sweet, and good to try once.