An Ontario Pumpkin Lager

Flying Monkeys Brewery in Barrie, Ontario is now some 15 years in the business. If the name doesn’t convince of craft, the labels should. Wacky and wild is emblematic, with (often) an “interstellar” theme.

It’s quite a shift from the first incarnation, the relatively stodgy Robert Simpson Brewery. Under the Flying Monkeys moniker the range and depth of flavours have expanded, to match the way out labelling.

In Theatre of Madness Pumpkin Lager, malt sweetness and pumpkin pie meet adroit spicing and herbal hops. And per the can, “a creamy dollop of lactose add[s] depth to the performance”. Let’s roger that.

No “balance” is claimed here, or “drinkability”. These have their market, but here we get full-on beery/spicy/seasonal taste. Of course a big flavour cannot itself ensure a great beer. The recipe must shine.

For Theatre of Madness: Mission Accomplished.

Among the aptly florid prose in the website the formula is set out more crisply:

ABV 6% alc./vol.|IBUs 20
Malts: 2-Row Pale Malt, Honey Gambrinus Malt, Raven Roasted Wheat
Hops: Cascade, Pahto
Special Additions: Pumpkin Puree, Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, Demerara Sugar, Lactose.

It’s beer to the max, as much beer originally was. A performance for the ages, it’s the best pumpkin beer I’ve had, well in this solar system.





5 thoughts on “An Ontario Pumpkin Lager”

  1. The only pumpkin beer I’ve ever had that doesn’t overdo the spices is Brooklyn Brewery Post Road. All of the others are too, well, spicy; I think the flavor of sweet pumpkin and malt go together nicely, and spiciness is easily created by the right hops. I’d like to see a pumpkin beer with no spice additions at all (I know Brooklyn Brewery has a tiny bit, but I bet the beer would taste pretty much the same without it).

    • I have had the odd example brewed just with pumpkin, no spice. I get a squash-like effect in these, which can be quite pleasing. Always down to what is the glass I think.Some formulas just work well, but personal taste always rules.


  2. That looks absolutely over the top, but I have to admit one or two crazy pumpkin beers every year is fun. They’re like caramel popcorn balls or corn dogs or glasses of gluhwein. One is enough, but never having any makes life drab.

    • Well definitely for me one at a time, but the thing I find is, as old time brewers knew, big body needs bigger hops, or vice versa, so in a way these are actually well-balanced in their way.

      So much too depends on each recipe. This just had that “elan vital” some (not many) beers have, tasting great right out of the gate.

      • I also think they benefit from the right setting. They work great with a plate of bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut and dense rye bread, eaten outdoors in the fall with a bit of wood smoke in the air.


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