Either you love pumpkin or you hate it, at least that is what my experience has been. I don’t think there is much middle ground. I have friends who count the days until Shipyard Brewing Company’s Pumpkinhead Ale — a fall-flavored brew of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg — appears on shelves and on tap. They bring it in tow to late-August cookouts and have inaugural tastings at their favorite bars.
I am a fan of pumpkin, but only during the fall, when brisk autumn weather replaces the long, hot days of summer. For me, there is a turning point, a day when summer ales are replaced with autumn brews. With that comes pumpkin cravings. I can’t bypass a piece of pumpkin bread or a pumpkin muffin and I start to stock my pantry with canned pumpkin for pie, bread pudding, and whoopie pies. I understand that for some, it may still be early to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. Glimpses of summer are still present, and jack-o’-lanterns have yet to take residence on our stoops. But for those who have started to crave this fall favorite, here is a sneak peak of Island establishments carrying pumpkin items, with many more to follow.
Coop de Ville in Oak Bluffs has pumpkin fever on tap and in bottles. Try one of their big beers to share that range in size from 16.9 ounces to 25.4 ounces. Sample Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company in New York or Smashed Pumpkin from Shipyard Brewing Co. in Maine. They also offer Wachusett Brewing Company’s Pumpkan Ale in a can and Shipyard Brewing Co.’s Pumpkinhead on tap.
For those with a sweet tooth, make sure to ask for a sugar and cinnamon rim on your draft of Pumpkinhead Ale when you visit the Wharf Pub and Restaurant in Edgartown.
Be on the lookout for The Great Pumpkin beer from Offshore Ale Co. in the next month when they roast fresh sugar pumpkins in their wood-fired brick oven and toss them in their mash tun.
At Mocha Mott’s in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, try the pumpkin spice latte that comes with a shot of pumpkin spice syrup. Or order the pumpkin spice coffee, part of the flavored coffee rotation. Check out the baked goods at both locations for fall-inspired treats. Right now, Mocha Mott’s in Oak Bluffs features glazed pumpkin bread.
Espresso Love in Edgartown has homemade pumpkin spice syrup that can be added to any drink from a latte to iced coffee and cappuccino. Sample one of their sweet autumnal creations including pumpkin cheesecake bars, cranberry pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin latte cupcakes with pumpkin butter cream frosting.
Open for the next month or so, many ice cream shops have yet to close their doors for the season. Stop by Ben & Bill’s in Oak Bluffs for a cone or cup of pumpkin cheesecake ice cream. Mad Martha’s in Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Edgartown offers a pumpkin spice flavor. Try it on its own or in a milkshake.
Pretty soon pumpkin will be popping up on dessert menus, and bars will start to use pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spices in their cocktails. Experiment in your own kitchen with sugar pumpkins. Roast the flesh for a side dish or salad, or try it puréed into a soup. Don’t forget about the seeds, they are nutty and delicious. Roast and top with salt for a snack or toss them in a salad. Boil or steam pumpkin to use in sweet preparations.
While you’re at it, mark your calendar for the Annual Pumpkin Festival, Saturday, October 19, from 11 am to 3 pm at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown. Enjoy hay rides, face painting, pumpkin carving and activities for all ages as well as local food and baked goods.