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Pumpkin Beer: Half Moon Bay Brewing Fetes Fall

It's not quite time for the massive gourd weigh-offs yet, but the seasonal brews are flowing.

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    Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
    Things are about to get mighty pumpkin-packed 'round Half Moon Bay, and The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is starting the craft brew-flavored party.

    GOURDS WITH GIRTH: Watching a massive pumpkin be gently -- gently, gently -- placed upon a huge scale can fill an onlooker's noggin with a swirl of questions. How many seeds are inside? (Answer: A whole buncha buncha). Rather than carving a simple jack o'lantern face upon the gourd, could you render a whole cityscape or another complicated picture? (Yes, you could, if you had hours and hours and a team lending a hand, since a carved pumpkin tends to fold in a few days.) Are the pumpkins at the annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay just about as big as Cinderella's carriage? (Bigger, actually, though not by much.) It's one of fall's most fun sights, and it is synonymous with Half Moon Bay, the pumpkiniest place on the Pacific Ocean. But there's a way to get a jumpstart on all things stem-topped and seedy well ahead of the mid-October bash. You can make for Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, which takes its location in the gourd-glad town to heart each year. How? By introducing...

    PUMPKIN HARVEST ALE... weeks ahead of Half Moon Bay's giant pumpkin festival. The fall brew makes a Sept. 1 debut, with an Imperial Pumpkin Ale to follow in October. Shall there be "subtle pumpkin pie flavor" and spicy notes and sweet notes and all of the things a suds-loving squash lover would want in a beer? There shall be, indeed. But the brewery is going beyond the pint glass and doing it up, fall-style, with an Oktoberfest menu during the second half of September and a pumpkin-themed menu for all of October. There's even a Harvest Pumpkin Dinner on Oct. 6 to sate those who need more, more, more of the gourdly good stuff. As for the October pumpkin-focused offerings? Butternut squash will take a starring role in some of the dishes, but bet all of the autumn edibles set before you shall have the scent or hue or character of a pumpkin. It really is getting to be that time of year, pumpkin people. If you can't wait to behold the famous weigh-off, you can get the seasonal sipping and pumpkin-themed question-asking going early, at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.