Jason Abbott doesn’t particularly enjoy pumpkin beers. His wife, Ali, on the other hand, is a pumpkin beer fanatic. “She tries just about all of them,” Abbot says, “aAnd she critiques every one she tries: 'This one is too sweet,' or 'This one has too much cinnamon.'”
About twenty years ago, Jason started making a pumpkin beer for Ali every fall on his home-brewing system. Each year they would dial it in closer to her perfect flavor profile: real pumpkin purée (not pie filling), with just the right touch of cinnamon, clove and other spices.
Then in 2016, Jason and his brother, Ron, joined Denver’s brewery scene by opening Seedstock Brewery, at 3610 West Colfax Avenue, and although they make the occasional IPA, stout or amber, their specialty is traditional Old World lagers. And pumpkin beers? Well, they were hitting the zenith of their popularity at the time — and the nadir of their respect among professional brewers. Jason vowed never to put his on tap at Seedstock.
But some vows have to be broken in order to protect others.
Last fall, after trying Jason’s home-brewed pumpkin ale, Seedstock’s taproom manager, Leah, teamed up with Ali to turn the screws. “They pleaded with me to put it on tap.” And if he didn’t? “I’d hate to say divorce, but it would have been close,” Jason says with a laugh.
So, for one day only, on Halloween, Seedstock will tap a very small batch of Jason’s pumpkin ale for its planned Halloween event (small, socially distanced and city rules permitting); Jason made just twelve gallons on his small pilot system at the brewery. A single Crowler will be given away to the costume-contest winner; the rest will be consumed that day.
The news made a few Seedstock regulars excited — especially Ali. Others are giving Jason a hard time, since he’d vowed never to put it on tap. “They say, ‘I thought you only made traditional beers,’ and I say, ‘Well, marriage is traditional, too, and if I want to stay married, I need to make this pumpkin beer.’ So, in that way, this is traditional, too.”
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