Iâ€™d never heard of Pumpkin beer until I came to New York and bought a selection of Autumnal bottles because I loved the Halloween themed labels. Yes, I am a marketerâ€™s dream.
So my initial impulse wasn’tÂ undulyÂ bothered by the beer itself. I was really interested in stuffing candles in the tops of the bottles and lining up a selection of different shapes and sizes down my Halloween table. It was a surprise â€“ a good surprise â€“ when Jon and I sat down to drink the spoils in the spirit of waste not want not.
Itâ€™s actual beer, it turns out, with actual pumpkin in it, along with all kinds of delicious autumnal spices â€“ nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, ginger.
The best versions are warming and delicious. The worst are synthetic and kinda weird. But even these have one redeeming feature; being kinda orange.
(Thereâ€™s a recipe hereÂ if youâ€™re interested in the process, or indeed, in getting started with brewing.)
I shop by lists, listen to recommendations, and try to be swayed by label design as little as possible. Well, maybe a little. So I do buy Sam Adams Harvest beer and Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, which are both delicious, but which both have super disappointing labels.Â And thatâ€™s where Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale comes in â€“ great taste, great label, available literally everywhere in NYC. Whatâ€™s not to love?
And it makes a good cocktail too â€“ muddle a shot of bourbon with a chunk of fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick. Strain this into a Pilsner glass and top up with the beer. Drink while reading ghost stories.
Roasted Spiced Chick Peas
These crunchy chick peas are utterly addictive. I like them best warm from the oven. They’re easy to make, and easy to shop for – store cupboard ingredients and rosemary from the balcony. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, use dried, but use a bit less.
Once you’ve got the hang of making them, the only thing standing between you and a ton of interesting flavor variations is yourÂ imaginationÂ and your spice rack.2 cans chick peas (garbanzo beans) 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or light olive oil) Salt and pepper 2 tbsp soft brown sugar 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary 1 – 2 tsp salt 1 tsp paprika (a bit less if you prefer things mild) Â½ tsp cinnamon 1 tbsp olive oil Â
- Preheat the oven to 350f
- Drain the chick peas, rinse and dry on kitchen paper
- Toss with 2 tbsp vegetable oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper, then arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes until they are just golden and rattle when you shake the tin
- While the chickpeas are cooking, combine the sugar, paprika, fresh rosemary, cinnamon and salt in a bowl with the olive oil
- Toss the hot chick peas in the mixture, then put back in the oven for 5 mins to let the flavors combine and lose their powderiness
- Eat warm, or store for up to a week in an airtight tin
If You Can Make That You Can Make This
Replace the spices and sugar with 2 tsp of garam masla
- Or with a drizzle of maple syrup, smoked sea salt and cayenne
- Or with sugar, salt, cumin, and cinnamon
- Or with lime juice, fresh cilantro, chili and salt
- Or with garlic salt, lemon zest and herbes de Provance