Today is the first day of autumn equinox. (If you’re reading this post from your email, it was yesterday.)
Now I could bore you with facts like:
-Today is also called the September equinox which happens the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above Earth’s Equator – from north to south.
-The equinox happens either on September 22, 23, or 24 every year. This year it’s on the 22nd at 10:21 am E.T.
-On the date of equinox, night and day is practically the same length, 12 hours all over the world.
-This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night”.
But it’s not really my style to just let the facts do the work. I want to talk about something that’s really important. I want to know, who was the person that thought pumpkin spice was the best thing to put in beer?
It seems like such a hipster thing to do.
But alas, with one quick Google search you will find out that pumpkin beer has been around since at least the 1600’s. This was for practical reasons. Settlers were not always able to get barley to make malt, so they had to use what they could to get the fermentable sugars that they needed to make beer. Pumpkin, and even parsnips, were readily available to meet the settler’s needs.
The settler’s wrote a song in the 1640’s addressing their displeasure at having to use pumpkin to make their beer. (Side note, this is considered America’s first discovered folk song that was rediscovered in the late 18th century.)
Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies;
We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon;
If it was not for pumpkins we should be undone
… Hey down, down, hey down derry down….
If barley be wanting to make into malt
We must be contented and think it no fault
For we can make liquor, to sweeten our lips,
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips.”
I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin spiced anything except for pumpkin pie. So unless pumpkin-spiced beer was the only beer available on Earth, I’d be fine never touching pumpkin-spiced anything ever again.
Recently TV’s most loved/hated chef Anthony Bourdain said, “I would like to see the pumpkin-spiced craze drown in its own blood.”
I have to say I agree with Mr. Bourdain. I just looked up a list of pumpkin-spiced foods that are available in 2016…and…uh…uh…I might have changed my mind a little.
I’m taking a firm stand here. I don’t want pumpkin-spiced anything unless it cookies. And pie. Or Bailey’s Irish Creme. Or Krispy Kreme Donuts. Or Starbucks lattes…ummmm pumpkin spiced lattes with Bailey’s Irish Creme and donuts, yum!
Ok, maybe I don’t agree 100% with Anthony Bourdain. But I’m sticking with the fact that I want brewers to keep pumpkin-spice out of my beer.
The directions below will help you drink your pumpkin beer responsibly. Enjoy the autumn season.