It feels like Austin has an endless summer. But we can start getting in the autumnal spirit nonetheless with the release of seasonal beers like the House of Torment Pumpkin Ale from 4th Tap Brewing Co-op.
House of Torment, the premier haunted attraction in town, launched Torment Tavern as an on-site bar last year in conjunction with the debut of the pumpkin ale, and both are expanding this year. The tavern will be a bigger enterprise when House of Torment returns Sept. 20, and 4th Tap's beer is also available in Houston and San Antonio for the first time.
Celebrate the new season of scares this week with 4th Tap's Friday the 13th release party of the pumpkin beer. According to the North Austin brewery, Sept. 13 is the first Friday the 13th in more than a year and thus an apt time to give the House of Torment Pumpkin Ale an official roll-out. It's back in cans and available at retailers including H-E-B and Whole Foods and at bars including, of course, the Torment Tavern.
Not sure a pumpkin ale sounds like something you'd want to drink right now, with temperatures still in the 90s? Well, it's not your typical fall beer, 4th Tap co-founder John Stecker says.
"So yes, it is still too hot for a traditional pumpkin beer," he says. "But Austin never really has pumpkin beer weather, so we designed this one for the heat. Instead of a thick pumpkin pie stout in a glass — which also sounds delicious — this is a light and refreshing 5% ABV pumpkin-spiced ale."
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The initial launch of the beer was so successful that the producers of House of Torment, the 13th Floor Entertainment Group, asked 4th Tap to make enough of it to offer at 13th Floor's haunted houses in both Houston and San Antonio. Last year, 4th Tap made one batch of it, as the recipe called for 240 lbs. of roasted pumpkin that head brewer Chris Hamje roasted himself. He had a year to prepare for the brew again.
"This is basically the biggest seasonal release we have ever done," Stecker says.
House of Torment returns to 2632 Ridgepoint Dr. with three new haunted attractions — Rise of the Dead, Clown and Dimensions of Darkness — that you can now purchase tickets to attend.
4th Tap's Friday the 13th party starts at 5 p.m. Friday at the taproom at 10615 Metric Blvd. It's your chance to dress up extra early in your Halloween costume; there will be a costume contest. There will also be cans of the House of Torment Pumpkin Ale that you can purchase to take home with you, now that Texas breweries are permitted beer to go sales.