Union Jack Pub’s 4th Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest As Unique as the 50+ Beers Served

Union Jack Pub’s 4th Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest As Unique as the 50+ Beers Served

Duane JashewayBy Duane Jasheway for Indiana On Tap

On a recent, resplendent fall afternoon, hundreds gathered in central Indianapolis to celebrate all things pumpkin beer. Union Jack Pub of Broad Ripple held their annual Pumpkin Beer Fest on October 8th and the fourth year festival featured 50+ free flowing pumpkin beers from 17 states.

Chelsey Wetzel, Union Jack co-owner, strives to ensure each successive Pumpkin Beer Fest surpasses the previous one. This year was no exception. Union Jack hosted Elysian Brewing Company at this year’s event (http://www.elysianbrewing.com). The Seattle-based brewery, known for their affinity toward pumpkins, brought 8 of their pumpkin themed beers Saturday–most of which could only be found in Indiana at this particular event.

Elysian’s local rep, Al, explained that Elysian entered the Indy market just four months ago with their flagship IPA, Space Dust, which is available around town solely on draft. Each year, they also take part in pumpkin beer road shows across the country and wanted great representation for Indianapolis this year. Barrels of Elysian beer arrived Saturday morning from the State of Washington–which added quite a bit of hype to this year’s event.

Frivolity was in full effect as many attendees dressed in costumes and pumpkin-themed gear. Union Jack transformed their parking lot into a cornfield like atmosphere with bales of hay, scarecrows, and even a small fire pit. Live music played throughout the day and prizes were awarded for the best dressed.

Indiana on Tap joined in on the festivities. They brought their already appropriately decorated bright orange ‘Ale Force One’ party bus. Indiana on Tap staff poured Indiana City Brewing’s Death By Pumpkin, Flat 12’s Flat Jack Pumpkin, and Salt Creek’s Pumpkin Ale from Ale Force One’s taps.

The Pumpkin Beer Fest presents such a vast variety of pumpkin beers that people can enjoy the event no matter what their (pumpkin) beer preference style may be. Ales are the most common, but breweries also crafted pumpkin lagers, stouts, barleywine, shandies, ciders and even sours. Central Waters from Wisconsin even brought a bourbon-barrel-aged version.

Not surprisingly, when asked, the Pumpkin Beer Fest attendees had differing views on their favorite beers for the day.

Alex Kotter, a Butler pharmacy student, chose Indiana City’s Death by Pumpkin as her favorite beer of the day. Ms. Kotter appreciated the balance that the 6.66% ABV and 13 IBU of real pumpkin ale provided.

Nigel Mouncey, a British transplant, was wowed by the authentic pumpkin taste of Elysian’s Gourdfather Barleywine.

“There’s usually so much wanking with spice and nutmeg that it masks the true pumpkin flavor. There’s a natural sweetness to pumpkin that doesn’t need anything added to it and the Gourdfather best represents that,”  Mouncy noted.

Elysian even tapped an actual gourd to pour the 11.2% ABV Barleywine beer.

If you love pumpkin beers or just like trying several different types of beers, you should plan to attend next year’s Pumpkin Beer Fest. Rumor has it that due to the progressive growth of the event over the last 4 years, next year’s fest has some new plans to accommodate a larger crowd with some additional surprises as well. I happen to love both pumpkin beer and surprises, so I’ll be back.


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