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Lakefront Pumpkin Lager: An autumnal Milwaukee tradition.

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager means it's autumn in Milwaukee

If you spend any amount of time in Milwaukee, chances are you'll imbibe in a Lakefront Brewery beer, whether it's from a Pale Ale quarter barrel at a party or to wash down a piece of fried perch with a Riverwest Stein.

Lakefront's Pumpkin Lager is a seasonal offering, but one of the company's most famous products. It's the world's only pumpkin lager, whereas other breweries make pumpkin ales because they take less time. (A batch of Lakefront lagers for four weeks.)

"This extra time gives the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager a deep, smooth richness that no ale can match," says Lakefront Brewery's Orlando Segura.

In 1989, Lakefront co-owner Russ Klisch found a pumpkin beer recipe that Thomas Jefferson homebrewed at Monticello. Back then, barley and hops were hard to come by, but pumpkins and squash were plentiful, so pumpkin beer was more common.

"Lakefront Pumpkin Lager was one of the first pumpkin beers in the United States since Prohibition, creating an entirely new category of craft beer," says Segura.

Jefferson's recipe inspired Klisch to create Lakefront's signature recipe that contains real pumpkin mash. The mash contributes to the brew's signature foamy head that's meant to be similar to the whipped cream on top of a slice of pumpkin pie.

All of the spices used in the beer -- nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and allspice -- are purchased from The Spice House, a Milwaukee institution that's been in business for 50 years. The malts are imported directly from Germany.

Although a popular autumnal beverage, some drinkers say Lakefront's Pumpkin beer -- as well as their Holiday Spice Lager that comes out in time for the December holidays -- isn't meant for consuming more than one or two at a time.

"Pumpkin beer is perfect when you're really going out for just 'one,'" says self-described "Bay View bar fly" Mike Fedderle. "It has so many flavors which is good, but can be too much of a good thing, too."

Pumpkin Lager is brewed to complement fall foods and holiday dinners, and is intended to enhance the flavors of turkey, chicken, ham or vegetables.

"Just as Thomas Jefferson led the way in building the country with a glass of beer settled firmly in his hand, Russ Klisch and Lakefront Brewery continues to advance the art and craft of brewing with innovative and traditional styles of beer," says Segura. "It's pure Milwaukee genius."

Lakefront Brewery's Pumpkin Lager is available at liquor stores and on tap from September until November or later. Here's a list of bars that offer -- or will soon offer -- Lakefront Pumpkin Lager on tap:

Bradford Beach Club
2022 N. North Ave.

7413 W. Greendfield Ave.

Bosley on Brady
815 E. Brady St.

808 E. Chambers St.

Frank's Powerplant
2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

2017 E. North Ave.

Kenadees Ultra Pub
725 N. Milwaukee St.

La Merenda
125 E. National Ave.

Landmark Lanes
2220 N. Farwell Ave.

1001 E. Locust St.

2028 E. North Ave.

Night Court
7127 W. National Ave.

2491 S. Superior St.

Roots Milwaukee
1818 N. Hubbard St.

Tony's Tavern
412 S. 2nd St.

1020 E. Locust St.

Valley Inn
4000 W. Clybourn St.

1836 N. Pulaski St.

1932 E. Kenilworth Pl.


yinger73 | Sept. 11, 2007 at 4:13 p.m. (report)

Nice. Time to stock up on the Pumpkin. I look forward to this and the Cherry every year.

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