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Smashing pumpkin

As fall approaches, some wait for their "Matrix" to be reloaded or for the Red Sox

to break their hearts, but I anticipate the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. No, Charlie Brown, I do nothing as loserly as sit out in a field hoping to spot a supernatural squash. It's Great Pumpkin Ale at Cambridge Brewing Company I pine for. Master brewer Will Meyers adds locally grown, organic sugar pumpkins to the pale malted barley in the mash to make the deep-amber ale. You taste a hint of cinnamon and allspice first, but almost immediately the earthy pumpkin flavor wells up. Then the Willamette hops kick in to give the beer a crisp finish. Making a good pumpkin ale is a delicate balance, and it's easy to stumble: Some taste like a mouthful of pie spices; in others it's impossible to find a hint of pumpkin. (I once tried to brew a pumpkin ale and ended up with two cases of light beer.) CBC's ale is always the best of the bunch, but even the Great Pumpkin isn't a sure thing. Once or twice over the years it hasn't had enough pumpkin flavor for my taste. This year, the Great Pumpkin is a smashing success.

Great Pumpkin Ale is available at Cambridge Brewing Company (1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-494-1994) through early December by the pint for $4.25 or in half-gallon growlers for $8 plus $1.50 deposit.Great Pumpkin is also available on tap at many restaurants and cafes, including Anam Cara, 1648 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-277-2880, and the Other Side Cafe, 407 Newbury St., 617-536-9477.

Great Pumpkin Ale
Great Pumpkin Ale is available at Cambridge Brewing Company through early December. Great Pumpkin Ale is available at Cambridge Brewing Company through early December. (Globe Staff Photo / Suzanne Kreiter)
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