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Fall into a beer

Engine House hosts beer event, plus autumn brews

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Just because the leaves are falling to the floor like Paris Hilton in a night club bathroom doesn’t mean the beer-chugging season is over. It has actually just begun.

First out of the chute this month in the beer world is a shout-out to the Tacoma Beer Society as it continues to build with strong showings at its events and even more tagalongs. At last count, it has some 185 friends linked to its MySpace page.

It’s Web site, www.tacomabeersociety. org, receives more hits than Fred Thompson\'s Web site.

The next event will be its Thanksgiving festival at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 at Engine House No. 9, at Sixth and Pine. The event will mark 100 years of the historic building and provide another reason to drink its crafted brews. The fee is $10 for six, four-ounce taster glasses of some of the best brew pub bubbly available in the South Sound.

Come out and learn about beer, drink beer, talk about beer and smell beer while trying not to spill beer at this event as a way to be part of a growing beer-appreciation club that is still in its infancy.

Started just six months ago, TBS draws upward of two dozen people to its monthly events and is set to have to require reservations if the trend continues.

Autumn brews

Another reason I like fall is the über tasty brews a lot of breweries shovel out these days. Harvest time makes for some great beers. Tops among those are the pumpkin beers. They are basically like pumpkin pie in a bottle.

Pumpkin beers may seem odd. But they sure are good. Too bad they are so hard to find. Only a few select places like, 99 Bottles, Steilacoom Wine and Brew, Steilacoom Deli and Pub and MSM II Deli have the shelf space and depth of beer stocks to even think about having a line of pumpkin brews.

But that will likely change since pumpkin beers are gaining in popularity. Heck, the Brewers Association gave the 14 pumpkin entries a subcategory of their own at the Great American Beer Festival earlier this year just because they were so different from the other stock of beer and warranted their own award. Previous years had them pitted against fruit beers. Great Pumpkin from Elysian Brewing Company in Seattle won the silver medal.

Another notable is Blue Moon Brewing Company‘s Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, although its corporately-crafted light copper make it a bit more watered down than a full-impact pumpkin puncher.

What makes these beers so great is that they are so different from the regular things on tap. While fall brings some hoppy pints and ones inching toward the beers with more bite most popular in the winter, pumpkin beers say “harvest” in a way Ambers just can’t. They are the sort of beers that need to be sipped all on their own or risk some odd tastes.

The spicy pumpkin tang brought by a pumpkin ale has a long after taste that could easily clash with fish and chips or a burger, for example. But nothing says fall like a chilled pumpkin beer and a roaring fire. It’s thick head and strong lacing make it a beer that won’t be ignored.

[Engine House No. 9, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m., $10, Sixth Avenue and Pine, Tacoma,]

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