by Heather Vandenengel

For the last three years, I have written an article about pumpkin beer. That may not be too surprising for a beer writer, but I keep returning to the damn subject because I still find the popularity of pumpkin (read: pumpkin spice) fascinating. I feel somewhat at peace with the question this year, after writing a 2,000-plus word article on it for All About Beer (on shelves now!), but I still find myself thinking about it this season. What it all boils down to is this nostalgia-twinged celebration of the harvest, in which we lust for America’s agrarian roots while sipping a pumpkin spice latter or cinnamon-sugar rimmed pumpkin ale.

Loving autumn has become a cliche, and an Onion article, literally, but the truth is harvest season is the best of the year and this year might take the cake. In the last week, I’ve picked 20-30 pumpkins/squashes, many baskets of tomatoes and beans, dug for potatoes, helped out a tiny bit during a grape pressing, picked, milled and pressed apples for cider and pruned, harvested and processed a lot of marijuana (yes, it’s legal, and yes, I will write more on this later).

I feel rich with produce and beverages and autumnal spirit and I didn’t even have to drink a pumpkin beer.