Lanzarote's bilingual magazine

Pumpkin beer

The quintessential autumnal pumpkin beer might seem like the brainchild of Halloween marketing execs, but its origins actually date back to 18th-century colonial America, before the founding of the United States.
Faced with the scarcity and high cost of ingredients needed to make conventional beer, ingenuity led New World settlers to experiment with alternatives to barley malt as a source of fermentable sugars, and they found success in molasses, millet, apple and pumpkin. For added flavour, they also used spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla.
Although widely consumed in its early years, when valued as a satiating drink and even a tonic highly recommended by doctors, pumpkin beer eventually fell into oblivion. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the first “new” pumpkin ale (re)emerged courtesy of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California. Spanish breweries also revived their ancient recipes, and pumpkin beer is currently produced by La Sagra (Toledo) and Tyris (Valencia).
Today’s pumpkin beers are a far cry from the originals. Nowadays, they are barley beers flavoured with pumpkin. They vary in appearance depending on the type of malt used as a base, but generally, they are malty beers such as pale ale, red or amber ale, wheat or even stout. The malt and pumpkin give them a slightly sweet edge, with the pumpkin punching through in both aroma and flavour.


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