Pumpkin Beer Invades Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Although poor Charlie Brown’s bestie Linus was disappointed year after year when the Great Pumpkin failed to rise out of the pumpkin patch, the entire grown-up Peanuts gang will be giddy to learn that starting Friday, September 5, all things pumpkin are returning to Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant.

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Taste buds from Delaware to Pennsylvania to New Jersey are already in full drool anticipating the Pumpkin Ale and Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Regional brewer Larry Horwitz teases there’s another great reason to say farewell to summer and hello to flavors that are uniquely fall.

“All 10 of our restaurants will get a wee bit of Vintage Pumpkin Ale, bottle only,” he explained. “It’s a limited run from 2013, and it’s aged really well. It will sell out, and fast. When it’s gone at your local Iron Hill, it’s gone.”

You can get your share of Pumpkin Ale, Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale and, if you’re nimble, Vintage Pumpkin Ale beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, September 5, at all locations except Maple Shade, N.J. Never fear, Garden State beer fans: Saturday, September 6, marks Maple Shade’s Welcome, Great Pumpkin party, one of several that will occur at Iron Hill restaurants in September and October. You can wet your whistle and grab up pumpkin goodness from 1–5 p.m.

There will be pumpkin-inspired dishes on the menu for all, and King of the Hill (KOTH) Rewards Club members may play to win prizes during a Wheel of Fortune-style game and enjoy a special,  secret pumpkin beer. Not yet a member? Join on the spot to snag exclusive benefits.

“This is a great event for the sheer amount of pumpkin beers on tap: 10 is a lot,” said Iron Hill Maple Shade Head Brewer Chris LaPierre. “Five are ours, and five are from breweries we admire. You can catch the Cartoon Christmas Trio playing seasonally appropriate Peanuts’ music and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV all afternoon.”

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Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale hails from Iron Hill Maple Shade, and it’s serious business. LaPierre and his brewers roasted 80 pounds of pumpkin per batch (versus 40 pounds per batch for Pumpkin Ale). That’s a commitment you can taste.

“Some people say you don’t actually need to put pumpkins in pumpkin ale and that you can get away with just using the spices. Those people have never smelled my restaurant when we’re roasting the pumpkins,” LaPierre added. “My goal was to try to capture the whole pumpkin pie, not just the spice. The molasses and dark malts give the flavors you’d get from the crust, and the whole Madagascar vanilla beans give the essence of the whipped cream on top.”

Horwitz is on board with that sentiment. He says it’s more than the alcohol strength that differentiates the ale from the imperial, calling out the latter’s maltier profile and slightly different spice character.

“Our beers are special because we’re dedicated to the process,” he said. “Our spice blends are custom-made, and that quality has a big impact. Plus, we use heirloom varietal malts.”

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All across Iron Hill, brewers are using creativity to develop flavor profiles for all pumpkin lovers. Maple Shade’s September 6 party will tap Iron Hill’s Pumpkin Ale, Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Cinderella’s Carriage, Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Bourbon Cindy, in addition to Manayunk Brewing Company’s Yunkin’ Punkin’, Weyerbacher Brewing Company’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Elysian Brewery’s Night Owl, Dogfish Head Brewery’s “Randalized” Punkin’ and Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery’s Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Biere De Garde.

Thirsty? Don’t live near Maple Shade? Iron Hill has you covered. Throughout the season, The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale will be sold as a Bottled Reserve, Iron Hill’s line of cork-finished 750 ml bottles, for $19.50 at all locations.  Plus, here’s a smattering of upcoming Iron Hill pumpkin beer events:

  • Saturday, September 13, noon–6 p.m.: Iron Hill Wilmington will be Out of Our Gourds with a multi-tap event featuring five different styles of pumpkin beer: Pumpkin Ale, Charlie Pumpkin Brown Ale, Great Pumpkin Stout, Pumpkin Weiss and Ichabod Imperial Belgian Pumpkin Ale.

  • Friday, September 19, 5–7 p.m.: Iron Hill Voorhees will celebrate the rite of fall by paying tribute to Cinderella’s Carriage, a Belgian-style pumpkin ale spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.

  • Saturday, September 20, 1–5 p.m.: Iron Hill North Wales will host its Pumpkinfest party by pouring pints and tulips of Pumpkin Ale, Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weiss, Bourbon Pumpkin Ale, Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Pumpkin Spiced Porter.

  • Saturday, September 20, 1–5 p.m.: Iron Hill Phoenixville will welcome pumpkin lovers back with Welcome to Pumpkinville!, a multi-tap event featuring Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Cask Conditioned Pumpkin Ale, Vanilla Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weiss and Great Pumpkin Stout.

Rounding out a delicious menu of events is the Gathering of the Gourds on Saturday, October 25, from 1–5 p.m. at West Chester. A whopping 16 beers will be available at the back-bar taps.

Iron Hill beers include Ichabod Imperial Belgian Pumpkin Ale, Blanche de Pumpkin, Charlie Pumpkin Brown Ale, Punktoberfest, Bruce Camp-Ale Vintage 2014, Bruce Camp Ale-Vintage 2013, Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weisse, Pumpkin Porter, Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Dr. Funkenstein. Beers from friends of Iron Hill available that day are Cambridge Brewing Company’s Brett Sematary, Elysian Brewing Company’s Hansel and Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner, Elysian/Ninkasi Brewing Company’s Hopsquash IPA, Samuel Adams Brewing Company’s Fat Jack and Weyerbacher Brewing Company’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

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“Everyone’s happy: we’ve got Belgian styles, brown ale, lager, bourbon barrel aged, ale, weisse, porter, sour, IPA—the whole works,” noted Iron Hill West Chester Head Brewer Andrew Johnston. “Oh, and let’s not forget I tap a giant jack-o-lantern full of Pumpkin Ale at 3 p.m. for all to enjoy, a jeroboam pouring of the Ichabod at 2 p.m. and the 2013 Bruce Camp-Ale at 4 p.m. Have your glasses ready!”

Naturally there will be KOTH member specials and possibly a bonus beer or two not currently on the list.

Wait—did someone say it’s too early for pumpkin beer? Naysayers, beware: it’s never too early for pumpkin beers to flow from the taps. Horwitz points out that Iron Hill is giving the people what they want: his customers demand it. And when thirsty crowds clamor, Iron Hill answers.

“We’ve responded by releasing pumpkin beers the first week of September and running them through October 31,” he explained. “Think about it: trends come and go, but pumpkin beer is an annual favorite. It’s the hook of flavors and aromas that trigger memories, especially around Thanksgiving. That’s a uniquely American holiday that transcends religion: it’s all about flavors, home and hearth.”

Get your taste of autumn at your favorite Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant: keep an eye on the updated events as they unfold.

With 10 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Nina Malone.

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