HELENA — Lewis and Clark Brewing and West Mont have teamed up this year on the brewery’s popular pumpkin ale.
Lewis and Clark held a release party Thursday for the beer, which owner Max Pigman says is their most popular seasonal brew.
For the first time, West Mont Farm and Gardens grew the pumpkins used to brew the beer. Assistant program manager Jeremiah Porter said one of their administrators is friends with brewery staff, and the idea came out of their discussions.
In May, the farm planted sugar pie pumpkins – a different variety than those in their main pumpkin patch – in a small unused plot of land. West Mont clients helped tend them as they grew.
They initially planned to supply 50 pounds, but eventually brought 70 pounds to Lewis and Clark.
“They just took off great out there,” Porter said.
Pigman said Lewis and Clark bakes the pumpkin, then adds it directly to the mash.
“We feel it just adds a little more body to the beer,” he said.
The brewery has been making pumpkin ale for about 10 years, with pumpkins from other local growers. Many of the other ingredients, including honey, are also produced locally.
Pigman said he’s happy to support an organization like West Mont. At Thursday’s launch event, the brewery donated $1 from each pumpkin ale sold to West Mont.
“It’s important for people to realize they’re a nonprofit that does a lot of great things in the community,” Pigman said.
Porter said he hopes this partnership will continue going forward.
“This looks like this’ll be a long-term deal that we’re going to be able to do for them,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it, because it’s more work for us and more work for our clients, and they want to give back to the community. That’s just awesome, to have a brewery like Lewis and Clark be able to do this for us.”
This is the time of year when West Mont Farm and Gardens would typically hold its Family Fun Day, but they are not having that event this year because of renovation at the farm’s group home. Instead, they will be hosting a “Fall Fun at the Farm” event on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where families will be able to purchase pumpkins.