Even though the local liquor store shelves are covered in orange and black labeled products this time of year, one pumpkin beer release still gets us excited. For the past nine years, Bristol Brewing has been producing the Venetucci Pumpkin Ale in partnership with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, stewards of Venetucci Farm.
We won’t delve too deep into the whole Farm back story, but here’s the gist: guy named Nick is in spring training with the Yankees in the 20’s, gets a call/message from home to help run the family farm, gives up on his dream and returns to Colorado.
Fast forward a few decades and Nick’s driving back from the Broadmoor with some produce left, and ends up giving it to local kids. Fast forward a few more decades and 10,000 or more school kids are visiting the farm every fall to pick their pumpkins. For Free. This guy is the closest thing to a local hero Colorado Springs has had in recent memory. Think of the millions of pumpkins he gave away over his lifetime. Mmm beer…
The problem with farmland in modern society is that most developers and land owners see future strip malls and golf courses. The Venetucci Farm almost fell into that same fate if not for the efforts of PPCF, who transitioned it from a derelict into an organic working farm. This beer helps that.
For years, our community has been rallying behind both Bristol and Venetucci Farm as the Pumpkin Ale has gained a massive head of steam. Lines snake around the Ivywild building and campus every fall first for the pre-sale and then a week later for the release. If you’ve ever wanted to become a philanthropist, this is a fun first step in the form of beer-philanthropy.
Pumpkin beer polarizes the beer world. The notion of “pumpkin spice” has become a pervasive flavor in society as well, possibly due to the popularity of pumpkin beer. You can find the stuff in almost everything, from cookie butter to deodorant.
Venetucci Pumpkin Ale has had many different iterations over the years. Some years it has been a bit too sweet, some years much spicier than the rest, but this year’s is spot on.
Ever since my dad and Mike Bristol sat down and dreamt up this autumn treat, I’ve enjoyed seeing what flavors each year’s vintage will showcase. He’s the first one who noticed the balanced complexity this year.
“Best Venetucci Pumpkin Ale I’ve ever had.”
This year, Venetucci Pumpkin Ale pours a deep red with a moderate head and aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon waft skyward. Digging my nose in, pumpkin is quite prominent, but it subsides as the spices kick in. There’s a lasting smell of dark fruit and brown sugar as well, which teases the sweetness living in the liquid below. The initial sip is dry at the onset, reminding myself that this is actually beer, yet as it washes over my palate a pumpkin pie sweetness shines through. The mouthfeel is there, full enough to be pleasant, but not chewy. This beer is good.
This beer is available in limited amounts at stores around town and on Monday in Bristol’s Pub. It will probably last for a bit in stores and on tap, but don’t delay. The farm will thank you.