Pumpkin beer: some purists find the concept more terrifying than anything else that goes on at Halloween. But believe us, this stuff can be delicious. This year, these London breweries are concocting their own batches of gourd-y goodness.
Hackney Brewery has brewed Pumpkin Ale, a 4% kegged beer with all manner of loveliness crammed inside. Jon from the brewery tells us how it's made: "We roasted pumpkins in spiced sugar and maple syrup and then added them to the mash along with some Munich malt. Then in the boil we added spiced syrup and we dry-hopped it with rum soaked cinnamon sticks."
Pumpkin Ale is available at a slew of drinking holes, including The Forest Tavern in Forest Gate, The Taproom on Upper Street, Draughts in Haggerston, The Flask in Highgate, Mother Kelly's in Bethnal Green and The Chequers in Walthamstow.
From microbrewery The Aeronaut comes a 4% Spiced Pumpkin Ale. Pumpkin pulp combines with roasted butternut squash and fistfuls of whole spices: nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, fenugreek and vanilla. This one's an excuse to go and explore Acton, because the beer's only available at The Aeronaut itself.
The artwork on the cans of Beavertown's Stingy Jack takes on a kind of sci-fi horror theme (now THAT'S how to market a beer, Greene King), and what's on the inside is just as good — flaked oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pimento, crystallised ginger, Demerara sugar, cardamom and, lest we forget, roasted pumpkin. Take an armful of cans to a Halloween party and everyone will forgive you for not bothering to dress up.
Down in the Beer Mile, Fourpure have produced their American Spiced Pumpkin Ale, which is being poured exclusively at their tap room right now. Who knows if they'll make any more; get it while it still exists.
At this time of year, many of London's best pubs will be selling pumpkin beer from further afield too. For pub suggestions, check out our pub database.