I wrote a story for today’s Globe and Mail on our growing obsession with pumpkin beer in Canada. I started by talking to world-famous pumpkin grower, Danny Dill, who grows the giant pumpkin variety — Howard Dill’s Atlantic Giants — invented by his Dad, a farmer/mad scientist, in the ’70s. Dill Jr. also grows 50 other pumpkin varieties, and he doesn’t necessarily think Giants are the way to go when it comes to making a beer.
Here’s his advice:
“Well I really personally don’t think that Atlantic Giants are as good for pies or beer-making, they’re not as flavourful. But it depends on everything else you’re going to put into it.
“I grew a variety of pumpkin this year and it should be the top pumpkin to do stuff with, I’m already starting to hear some rave reviews. It’s called Winter Luxury, it’s a little larger than a pie pumpkin size, and it’s not really orange, but a tan, buff colour with netted skin, it’s an old time variety from 1862, and just the reviews of it convinced me to grow it.
I get people coming here to buy pumpkins specifically for pies… we have a dessert contest every fall and it lets people put pumpkins to the test. One chef told me it was incredibly awesome to work with these pumpkins.”