by Katy Watts
Pumpkin ale is one of my favourite beer seasonals. I enjoy it so much that I’m pretending it’s okay that I’ve already amassed a collection of over 10 varieties and fall isn’t even here. Each bottle is a little different—some brewers create a cloyingly sweet pumpkin pie version with lots of vanilla flavouring and heaps of pumpkin pie spice. Others use real pumpkin, roasting it and adding it to the mash with ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice to create a beer with more depth.
One of my favourites from last year was St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale from Montreal’s McAuslan Brewery. The copper-coloured ale has a spicy caramel sweetness with a wonderful clove and nutmeg aroma.
Craving more of those autumn spices, I used this pumpkin ale in a simple beer bread recipe. Not only did it make my kitchen smell like fall but it created a dense loaf with a sweet crust and clove, nutmeg spiciness. It’s perfect to eat on its own with salted butter or to use to sop up chili or stews.
Change the pumpkin beer for any full-flavoured brew and create a bread that suits your tastes or meal.
Yield: 1 loaf
•2 cups whole wheat flour
•1 cup all-purpose flour
•1 tablespoon granulated sugar
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon baking powder
•1 bottle St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale (355ml)
•1/4 cup water
•For glaze: 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water
•Preheat oven to 375°F, grease an 8-inch loaf pan.
•Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
•Slowly stir in beer and mix until combined – the batter will be thick. Spread into bread pan.
•Combine egg and water into bowl and beat. Brush egg glaze onto loaf (optional).
•Bake until golden brown or a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean (about 35 minutes).
•Cool for 10 minutes in pan or on rack. Serve warm with salted butter to accompany a stew or alone as a snack.