Pumpkin beer
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Goat Patch Brewing Co.’s Pumpkin Patch Punch.

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Pumpkin beers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no arguing the flavor is a defining one for early fall brews. Like all seasonal holiday nods, they tend to show up early and lose relevance fast.

“There’s kind of a limited window of when you can put those pumpkin beers out, and they’re one you definitely don’t want to have on much past Halloween,” said Goat Patch Brewing Co.’s Darren Baze, whose brewery was one of two in the Springs to bring home bronze medals from last weekend’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver. (Goat Patch won in the Scottish-style ale category for It Takes A Tribe Red Ale and Cogstone Brewing Co. took bronze in experimental beer for its Chips & Salsa Cream Ale).

The spices that give pumpkin beers their signature flavors are a straight-up borrow from pumpkin pies.

“Pumpkin (puree) adds creaminess to the mouth feel, but it really doesn’t have any flavor,” Baze said. “It’s the spices that people associate with pumpkin beer flavors — cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, garam masala — that makes it a pumpkin beer, that gets you ready for the holidays.”

Goat Patch will tap its keg of Pumpkin Patch Punch, brewed with German Hefeweizen and French Saison yeast, at 5:30 p.m. Friday at 2727 N Cascade Ave #123.

“Last year, we didn’t release until Halloween, and it ended up taking a little longer to sell,” said Baze. “We’ll catch it earlier this year and get it out while people are still excited about the pumpkin stuff.”

It wouldn’t be a discussion of pumpkin beers without Bristol Brewing Co.’s fan-favorite, super-limited-release seasonal, Venetucci Pumpkin Ale.

No pre-sale or release dates have yet been set, but the brew is on track for the second half of October, with pumpkins again donated by Pueblo’s Milberger Farms, said brewery owner Mike Bristol.

All profits from sales of the beer go to Venetucci Farm, a 190-acre urban pumpkin patch established by the Venetucci family in 1936 and now operated by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation as an education and community resource.

They don’t sell these beers around here, but if you’re road-tripping in the next few weeks and happen to be in North Carolina, Wisconsin or Montana, check out the GABF gold, silver and bronze medal winners in the pumpkin/squash beer or pumpkin spice beer categories: Gordgeous, by NoDa Brewing Co. of Charlotte, N.C.; Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale, by Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, Wisc., and 5 Phantoms Pumpkin Spice Barleywine at Philipsburg Brewing Co.’s The Vault in Philipsburg, Mont.

Reporter

Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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