This past Saturday 10 Barrel Brewing here in Bend held their first-ever pumpkin beer fest, dubbed “Get Squashed”, where they featured five pumpkin beers on tap, pumpkin food, live music, and more. Not too many breweries brew a pumpkin beer, much less five (really four, but read on for how that worked), and even less do any sort of pumpkin beer events—so you know I had to visit.
My wife and I got there early—11:30 even though it started at noon—in order to get a bite to eat beforehand (and in case we needed to wait for seating, as 10 Barrel’s Bend Pub is crazy busy all the time), and ordered up one of the pumpkin food specials: a Pumpkine “Pie”, aka pizza, with pumpkin sauce and butternut squash that turned out to be quite delicious.
I actually started by day with their 150 Boise Blonde since the pumpkin beers weren’t pouring yet, and I hadn’t yet tried any of the beers brewed by Shawn Kelso over at their Boise Pub. It was a nice beer, sessionable (though not quite a true session) and flavorful and started the day out right.
And what a beautiful day: in the 70s, blue sky and sunny without a cloud in sight; we actually got too hot at one point and had to move into the shade!
10 Barrel had decked out their patio for their Fest with hay bales, carved pumpkins and a “pallet bar” in the corner which was quite clever actually, well-themed yet cheap to collect and assemble, and at which they poured all their pumpkin beers.
(Yes, they had a fire going in their firepit which seemed unnecessary given how warm and nice the day was.)
After the pizza and Blonde it was time to dive into the pumpkin beers.
So you see only four beers on this menu even though they were actually pouring five: the Coconut Curry was pouring from a keg and a cask, and the cask version had extra Citra hops added though I couldn’t taste them. This is a pretty great list actually, so let’s run down them:
- Gourdie Lachance (pun alert): Pretty “classic” pumpkin ale, malty and amber with a lot of spice. I enjoyed it but it I do think it was probably a bit over-spiced which drives me nuts about most pumpkin beers.
- Punkin Brewster (another pun alert!): Another “classic” in the same vein as Gourdie, though this was sweeter and less spicy, so better to my palate I think. Nice sweetness and maple character, and both of these beers are worth seeking out if you’re looking for the “classic” pumpkin beer character.
- Pumpkin Crush: This was a pumpkin version of the “Crush” sour fruit beers (fruit blended with their German Sparkle Party Berlinerweisse), and was excellent: the first pours were cloudy with pumpkin and spices and you could really taste the pumpkin. It blended with the sour base amazingly well. Interestingly, as this poured throughout the day (my wife was drinking this throughout, and I got another later on), it got clearer and clearer as the pumpkin and spices were drained from the keg and the Sparkle Party came out more prominently. Really really good.
- Coconut Curry (both keg and cask): My absolute favorite of the day, because it was so unusual but so good—not something you’d expect, and while the keg and cask versions were essentially the same, it was the cask version that really shined for me: softer, more unfiltered I think, natural carbonation, and more flavorful as a result. It worked and was amazingly good: I got the toasted coconut and mild curry that blended superbly with the pumpkin. Once I tried all five beers down the list (in the order here) I kept going back to the Cask Coconut Curry. Yes, it was that good and I hope they have some more on tap.
As the afternoon wore on, it got busier and busier on the patio, though some of the people were simply waiting on an inside table. We didn’t stay very late, though, so I don’t know how much busier it got into the evening; while we were there, there were a lot of people but not so many that we couldn’t find somewhere to sit or easily get beer. In other words, packed but low-key.
Overall a fun time with some good pumpkin beers, and I enjoyed it. I will definitely look forward to this event again next year—maybe with more pumpkin beers, or even guest taps as well? (Hint, hint!)