Review: Shipyard Brewing Smashed Pumpkin

One of the things that I love about Columbus is that we are not lacking for good beer and it’s not hard to find either.  Even your local grocery store will have craft beer to offer!

However this does mean that it can be difficult when shopping for beers to review.  So many options!

Up for review this week is Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin in the Pugsley’s Signature Series.



Smell: 4/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Great pumpkin smell right outta the gate.  While the pumpkin smell is subtle, the spices come through strong but not in an overpowering way.

When you smell this brew, it’s clear that it’s a pumpkin and fall inspired ale.  This is exactly what you’re looking for with pumpkin ales.

Color: 5/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Shipyard has done the perfect color for this beer! It’s a great bright orange color and also very cloudy.  I personally don’t like a beer that has been super filtered, allowing you to see through it.  I want some heft to my beer and I’ll take a cloudy beer any day.

I honestly couldn’t stop admiring this beer once it was poured.  In regards to color, it’s the perfect looking pumpkin ale.

Head: 3/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

The head didn’t last long but it was present.  A lovely cream color to go nicely with the orange of the pumpkin ale. One of the better heads that we’ve seen on a pumpkin ale.

Taste: 5/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Winner winner, pumpkin dinner! This was hands down, the best ale we’ve tried yet (YET is the key word here, we still have two more to go!)!  It was amazing and exactly what I want out of a pumpkin ale.

The pumpkin and spice flavors were spot on.  Not too spicy but not so little that the flavor went away quickly.  The pumpkin flavor was strong at the start with the spice flavor finishing it up at the end.  Scott felt that this had a more nutmeg kick to it than other ales and thought it was the most detectable at the finish.

The ale was cool and had a completely clean and crisp taste to it which is essential for pumpkin brews.  It’s a delicate balance creating a pumpkin ale. Too heavy and it will seem sweet and aggressive.  Too light and you won’t know it’s a pumpkin ale.

Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin is right on the money.  Very refreshing with a clean crisp taste to it.

A great sipping beer or would go well with salty snacks.


I would definitely purchase this ale again.  I had yet to find a pumpkin ale that could stand up to my beloved Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale until this ale came into my life. I’m highly bummed out that we only purchased one bottle.  I need to get more!

I highly recommend this beer.  It’s a great interpretation of a pumpkin ale and a great seasonal brew to have on hand.

Would be great to have at a fall backyard BBQ or maybe to hand out to the parents during trick or treating.  Just a suggestion! They need a treat too!

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

Review: Southern Tier Pumpking

Alright gang, it’s October which means it’s time to review a whole new set of pumpkin beers!

Are you excited? Because over here at the HQ we are estatic!

You can take a quick glance at the beers that we reviewed last year.

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

New Holland Ichabod 

O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Ale

For a brief tutorial, we will be looking at several qualities of the beer:

  • Smell
  • Color
  • Head
  • Taste

Rating the beers in pumpkins :pumpkin:, from 1 to 5, 1 being the poorest and 5 being the best score.

First up is Southern Tier’s Pumpking.  This beer comes highly recommended from just about everyone. The minute you mention pumpkin beers, most people will ask if you’ve had Pumpking.

Since it’s so highly recommended, it’s going to be the beer that kicks off the month!

So let’s see how it did!

Smell: 4/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

It has a strong pumpkin smell to it that immediately hits you as soon as you pour the beer.  There’s another scent in the background and I almost want to say it’s reminiscent of melted butter.  Like the way a graham cracker crust would smell.

You can definitely pick up all the typical spices that are common in pumpkin ales which is a good thing! This is highly desirable and something that you want smell right away.

While the pumpkin and spice smell was spot on, I have to say that graham cracker crust smell was a little distracting in a way.

Color: 3/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Color was good on this beer but I would have liked to see it a bit darker.  It had a slight orange hint to it and for pumpkin ales this is a must. It’s gotta be orange!  The light color is a great indicator of how light of a beer this actually is.

Head: 2/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Really not much head to speak of, and the little poof that was there didn’t last long at all.  You can tell by the picture that there isn’t much going on.

Taste: 4/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

This is probably one of the more complex pumpkin ales we’ve had in terms of flavor.  There is a lot going on here and I definitely picked up some vanilla in the background as I drank the beer.

The pumpkin flavor is strong along with the typical spices; cinnamon, clove, and allspice.  The spice flavor lasts through out from start to finish.  The vanilla and the caramel/butter notes makes it stand out from other pumpkin ales.

It’s not as beer tasting as most ales.  It is definitely a lot lighter in that regard.  Can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for.  I prefer a more beer taste to my ales.

It’s also on the sweeter side as far as pumpkin ales go.  After sipping this for a while, I found it to become too sweet.  I definitely would not be able to have more than one.

I also had a chance to try this beer on tap which seemed to intensify the sweetness.  One sip was enough for me, I couldn’t drink more than that.  From the bottle, the sweetness builds over time.


The beer was good but not something I would purchase again or specifically seek out.  The flavors and complexity of the beer were solid.  However it being on the lighter side and also being more sweet than I want in a beer, means that I’ll pass it by.

If someone is new to pumpkin ales and likes sweeter things, then this beer is definitely for them!  For those that like a hearty pumpkin ale, this won’t tickle your fancy much.

Have you had Pumpking before? What are your thoughts?

Come back next week to see what else is up for review!


Beer Season

For some reason fall and winter seem to be my “beer season”.  It’s when I crave beer the most.  I don’t know if that’s because the stores get flooded with seasonal ales or maybe because stouts are perfect for those cold winter nights.

Regardless, beer is on my mind more and tends to be the only thing I want.

Last year we had fun talking about and reviewing some of the different pumpkin ales that are out.

Pumpkin and harvest ales seem to be starting to come into their own more.  I am noticing a lot more pumpkin and fall type beers out in the stores and some breweries even have several different styles available.

Because I’m a sucker for seasonal stuff, this makes me extremely happy! Also because I personally think that the fall and winter seasonals happen to be the best stuff.  Summer brews are nice but fall and winter is where the good stuff is!

This year, if you guys are down with it, we can review a different set of pumpkin ales for the month of October.  I’ve already got one ready to be tapped!

Check out the list of ones we did last year:

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale

Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale

New Holland’s Ichabod Ale

O’Fallons Pumpkin Ale

Are you a beer drinker? If so, do you have a “beer season” like me or do you drink brews all year long?

Pumpkin Surprise

How is everyone doing this week? Admittedly, it’s been kind of a long week here at the HQ. We’ve had lots of work and not such fun errands that needed attention.  I was very much looking forward to pizza and hitting the couch for some much needed down time.

I decided to play around with the pizza crust this week.  I wanted to change things up and see what happened.

Nothing too drastic mind you, because you really shouldn’t mess too much with a good thing. You know?  But I had to try just this once.

I put pumpkin in the pizza dough this week.  Oh yes, you read that right, pumpkin.  I was curious to see what it would do to the crust and how it would change the texture and taste.  Would it do much of anything? Would it be a disaster?

You never till you try.

I’m pleased to say that this turned out better than I expected!

I used my basic pizza dough recipe, using white whole wheat flour and 1/2C of pumpkin puree.

I didn’t want to add too much pumpkin because it can weight down a dough (of any kind, cookie, pancake, quickbread…etc) and since this was the first time experimenting with it, I didn’t want to risk total failure.

I also added in 3 cloves of grated garlic and some Italian seasoning hoping to bump up the flavor index some. The pumpkin required a little extra flour to be added to the mixture.

The dough ended up being very soft and a little sticky.  I became concerned it might not cook up that well.  It rose like crazy though! Easily the most out of any of the doughs I’ve made.

It rolled out very easily but was prone to pulling apart when I placed it on the transfer sheet.  The holes were patched up without much fuss.  I topped it and crossed my fingers hoping for the best.

Because I was experimenting with the dough, I didn’t want to go crazy experimenting with toppings and sauce.  When fiddling and adjusting recipes, only focus on one element at a time or else the chances of failure increase. Plus it’s easier to stay focused and make notes when you are only fiddling with one ingredient or aspect.

This pizza had:

  • Pizza Sauce
  • Shredded Moz
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Red Onion
  • Broccoli

The pizza cooked up great and the crust came out very crispy and had a slight denseness to it.  It also had a tiny orange tint to it, which I loved.  The dough was a tad orange and I was wondering if that would bake out during cooking, however it stuck around!  Hooray! That makes things a little more fun I think.

Next time I will add more pizza sauce as I top it because this dough actually seemed to absorb the sauce.  As I was eating, it seemed like there was almost no sauce at all.  Strange side effect! But noted for the next go around.

Despite 3 cloves of grated garlic, the dough really didn’t have much of a seasoned flavor to it which at first I thought was odd, but then because it rose so much and because it was such a big dough, the flavor probably got muted somewhat.

Wine for the evening was by Indelible Wines and was a lovely Cab called Vintage Ink.  A really light Cab with very fruity and floral smells.  We sipped while watching House Hunters.  Anyone see the International episode last night with the chick buying a condo in Poland?  Was her Realtor swarmy or what?!

How was your week? Are you ready for the weekend? We totally are!

Review: O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Ale

Here we are friends, we’ve reached the last Pumpkin Beer Review of the season!  Are you excited?  A little sad?  I’m a little sad but also since this segment seemed really popular, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more pumpkin beer talk next fall!


O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Beer is on the chopping block today.  We spotted this beer in the grocery store and didn’t really pay to much attention to it.  I think the label seemed a little generic and so we just kind of passed it over.  However since we needed beers for Pumpkin Month and we hadn’t tried this one before we bought it to give it a whirl.

Brief Recap:

I’m going to rate the beers on:

  • Smell
  • Color
  • Head Retention
  • Taste

The ratings will be :pumpkin: and the score will range from 1-5.  One being the poorest and five being the best.

Did O’Fallon’s hold up or was it O’Failin’?

Smell: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

The smell doesn’t overwhelm you but there is a nice cinnamony scent that lets you know this is a beer with some spice to it.  It doesn’t knock you over the head but it is a really nice start to the beer.  Very heavy on cinnamon with a hint of nutmeg.

Color: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

This beer has a nice color too it!  While it seems light, you cannot see through it.  It’s cloudy, which I like to see.  It also had a nice orange tint to it, and for a pumpkin beer that makes for a great color!

Head: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

For a lighter ale, the head on this was amazing.  It was bright white, large, and maintained it’s shape and size for an extremely long time.  Even several minutes after we started drinking, while the size did go down, some form of the head still remained.  Perfect!

Taste: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Three pumpkins, this is a first this month!  I would actually give it 3.5 :pumpkin: if I had a half one to show!

We had to sample this beer twice so we could have an accurate assessment.  My initial impression was that it was not very good.  However after having sampled some other subpar beers and then trying this one again, I realize my first impression was too hasty.  This pumpkin beer actually isn’t bad.  It’s not a powerful spicy ale but it does have a nice spice flavor to it that continues through to the finish.  The finish is has almost a caramel graham cracker taste to it.  Not overpowering, very subtle but it’s there.  This is what I like in a pumpkin ale, I want a flavor to the finish because that makes the beer.  A spice start is okay but if you lose it too quickly, the beer will fall flat.  This beer, you get a lovely cinnamon smell at the start and the slight spice at the end.  It’s a nice beer and is best served very cold.

I would drink this beer again and I would order it out if it was offered.  Would make a nice beer for someone just starting to drink some pumpkin ales.

Have you ever had O’Fallon’s before?  What did you think?

What did you think of the beer reviews for Pumpkin Month? Should we do it again?

Pumpkin Cider Corn Cakes

Pancakes are pretty much on the menu each Sunday here at the HQ.  Yes, occasionally we have eggs and sometimes waffles but nothing warms my heart and fills my belly as well as pancakes.

It’s an interesting turn of events really because I was never a real big pancake eater.  I ate them and liked them well enough but I didn’t seek them out or love them.  My mom would make pancakes from a boxed mix and make them into small silver dollar size rounds.

When I started making pancakes for myself and Scott over a decade ago (holy cow!), I did it the same way my mom did.  Then I gave up on pancakes for a while and didn’t really pay much attention to them anymore.

Until now.  Now I cannot get enough of the fluffy goodness.  I’ve learned that you don’t have to use a box mix.  Heck, you don’t even need eggs, milk, or butter to make them!

A few simple ingredients can yield yourself a great pancake.  I have found that I really like using cornmeal in pancakes.  It makes them a little fluffier and lighter to me.

With this being Pumpkin Month what better time to create a fall and pumpkin inspired pancake!

Andrea’s Pumpkin Cider Corn Cakes

  • 1 1/2C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2C Cornmeal
  • 1/2C Pumpkin puree
  • 2C Apple cider
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2TBSP Sugar
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Whisk together until everything is incorporated.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the cider, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Whisk that together until blended and then gently pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture.  Stir to combine.

On a preheated and greased griddle, drop a large spoonful of batter onto the griddle.  Spread out the batter a bit with a spoon and allow to cook about 4 minutes or until you start to see bubbles popping up in the middle.  Flip and let the other side cook for about another 2-3 minutes.  You can stick a toothpick in the pancake to double check it’s done.

Remove from griddle, plate up and serve immediately!

I like a lot of toppings on my pancakes!  The cider along with the cornmeal helps keep these pancakes light and fluffy.  They puff up a good bit as they cook but don’t let that fool you into thinking you are going to have a huge stack of cakes.  Once flipped they drop down, so don’t worry!

They also brown up a great deal which makes them look burnt, but they are not, just tasty!

Scott and I loved these pancakes and I’m going to be sad when cider is no longer in season because it gives a nice twist to the pancakes.

Make them big or make them small, just be sure to make some because they are a lovely tasty treat!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Review: New Holland’s Ichabod Ale

I have to be honest with you and tell you that when I saw this beer, I was beyond excited.  Like over the top EXCITED!

See, New Holland happens to be one of my favorite breweries.  They are responsible for bringing me to the dark side with a seasonal brew of theirs called Cabin Fever.  I talked about it right here.

They also make another dark beer that is my current LOVE and I was introduced to him earlier this year at Columbus Beer Fest.  More on him at another time!

So when I saw that New Holland made their own pumpkin ale complete with a cool name and an even cooler label I was all over that right quick.

Oh I had high hopes for this one!  I was building it up in my mind and I don’t know if this was a bad thing or a good thing?  But I was counting down the days till I could pour some and get sipping.

Quick Recap:

I’m going to rate the beers on:

  • Smell
  • Color
  • Head Retention
  • Taste

The ratings will be :pumpkin: and the score will range from 1-5.  One being the poorest and five being the best.

Alright New Holland, are you going to bring it or is your Ichabod going to be full of Ick and no bod?

Smell: :pumpkin:

Opened this bottle and got nothing.  I mean NOTHING.  It didn’t smell like anything.  It had a beer smell but there was nothing there that made me think fall or pumpkin. Oh New Holland, you need to bring something to the table!

Color: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Color is fantastic!  This is exactly the color of ale I prefer.   A lovely deep amber color that you can barely see through. It was gorgeous and had me thinking that perhaps the lack of spice smell would somehow work out.

Head: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Head retention wasn’t great but it lasted a lot longer than some others we tried.  I would prefer a little longer but I can live with it.

Taste: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Oh man could I have been any more disappointed?  I highly doubt it.  This beer just did not have it at all.  No spice, no flavor, and really no anything.  If I was given this beer in a blind taste test, I wouldn’t even have thought for a second it was a pumpkin ale.  It had a weird transition too, like it almost got super bitter at the finish.  Neither Scott nor I could even finish this beer.  I was so bummed out! I’m currently trying to figure out who I can pawn the rest on to.  Anyone want to do a beer swap?

It’s alright I still love New Holland, I just think our relationship is going to have to stick with the darker more intense stuff.

Have you ever had Ichabod ale before?  What are your thoughts?

Frozen Pumpkin Dessert

We eat a lot of bananas in this house.  So much, that I’m pretty much convinced the grocery store checkout clerks find us a bit bizarre as we pile up at least 5 bunches of bananas.

They get used in oatmeal and frozen ones get used in smoothies.  Rocky also gets a frozen one every night in his kong for his bedtime snack.  We eat them a lot!  So it’s a good thing we love bananas.

When I came across Gena’s tip for using frozen bananas to make a soft serve style dessert I was intrigued and knew immediately that we would love it.  We’ve had frozen banana dessert a bunch of times now, our favorite way using chocolate soymilk and peanut butter.

I know, it’s pretty much heaven.

Being that it’s fall, it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at using pumpkin in this dessert.

I used to be in love with pumpkin ice cream.  It was my very favorite flavor!  Then I started becoming more aware of ingredients and what exactly I was putting into my body.  Sadly the majority of pumpkin ice cream out there (Jeni’s excluded obviously) has a ton of crap in it.  I stopped buying it and became a very sad Andrea.

Until now.

Andrea’s Frozen Pumpkin Dessert

  • 4  Frozen bananas
  • 1/2C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2C-1C Vanilla Soymilk (or nondairy milk of choice, or milk)
  • 1/4tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp Ground Clove
  • Pinch brown sugar (really small pinch)

Break frozen bananas up into chunks or at least cut them in half.  In a food processor or heavy duty blender if you have it, add all ingredients. Start with 1/2 cup of the soymilk.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  You might want to start the process with a few pulses first and then let it go for a bit.  If it starts getting too thick on you and won’t blend, add in some more of the soymilk.  Slowly until it starts moving again and blending.

Dish up into ice cream bowls and serve immediately!

You can see that this makes two HUGE bowls of “ice cream”.  It tastes exactly like pumpkin ice cream.  It is made with bananas, so the banana flavor is there but with the pumpkin and spices, you hardly notice it.  It tastes like fancy pumpkin soft serve.

I ate everything in my bowl and then licked it clean.

Be careful with the amount of cinnamon you add.  Cinnamon in large quantities can come across spicy with heat to it.  You don’t want this in pumpkin ice cream.

Now go make yourself a bowl!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Review: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

When people start talking about pumpkin ales, the first thing I usually hear are those touting the amazingness of Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale.  It hasn’t come across my path until recently.  I’m not sure if I just wasn’t looking for it or if for some reason, it was never available in the places I buy beer.

Finally this season I spotted some and purchased it for Pumpkin Month.

Again, I have to credit World Market here!  They came through!

Admittedly I was excited to try this beer out.  So many people talk about it, it has a fun little label, and I love pumpkin beer.

Quick Recap:

I’m going to rate the beers on:

  • Smell
  • Color
  • Head Retention
  • Taste

The ratings will be :pumpkin: and the score will range from 1-5.  One being the poorest and five being the best.

Bring it Dogfish!

Will this beer knock me over or will it go out like a punk?  (Oh snap!)

We opened it up and got started with the testing!

Smell: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

I always smell a beer right out of the bottle and then once I pour it, I smell it again.  This pumpkin ale had a nice aroma to it.  You could smell the spices right away, though it isn’t strong enough to smack you in the face.  I was a little bummed by that.  Nonetheless there was a hint of spice there, so I had high hopes.

Color: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

You can’t tell in the picture, but this ale has a nice deep color to it.  Yes you can still see through it, but I certainly wouldn’t toss it in the “light” category.  I was pleased with the color and this set the foundation for expecting a lovely beer.

Head: :pumpkin:

Head retention here was really non-existent.  In the time it took me to pour the beer and then turn my camera on, which was right next to me, the head was gone.  Poof!  Just like that!  Boo.  I didn’t even get to see it!

Taste: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

This beer falls flat on pumpkin taste.  The smell is there and it creates a lovely anticipation but no delivery on taste.  There’s hardly any pumpkin flavor and there’s no spice at the finish at all.  Despite the nice coloring the beer is very light and a little weak tasting. It literally almost tasted watered down.  With all of the hype, we weren’t impressed at all.

In summary, we were really disappointed in this beer.  With so many people in love with it, we thought that it was definitely going to bring in the pumpkin flavor.  It let us down.   Since it only comes in a four-pack it is an expensive seasonal. Close to $9 for four bottles of beer!  That’s a pricey!

I know a lot of people dig it, but Dogfish Head Punkin Ale isn’t really our thing.  It’s drinkable but not something I would actively seek out and purchase again.

Have you had Dogfish Punkin before?  What were your thoughts?

Pumpkin Polenta

Polenta is a “new to me” dish.  It wasn’t something I grew up with and the first time I came across it was watching Food TV.  I’m also not from the south, so grits never crossed my path either.

Whenever I saw it mentioned though, it was always very creamy with lots of cheese.  It looked amazing and people talked about it like it was a dish from the heavens.  I finally found some in the store and decided to make my own.

What a horrible experience!  The polenta smelled like dirty feet and it wasn’t creamy at all but gritty.  Perhaps why the term grits came about?  I really disliked the experience, so much so, that I tossed it all and pushed the idea of polenta aside.

With my food knowledge and experience growing, polenta came back to the forefront again.  Because I try to be fair with foods, I decided to give it another try.  I played around with it and became more familiar with it.  This time there was success!

Polenta still smells like dirty feet as it cooks but once you add in the cream base, some cheese, and butter if you’re feeling punchy, that smell turns into something very tempting and enticing.

Polenta can be made to take on lots of different flavors so I thought, why not use pumpkin?  It’s creamy and I bet it would provide a creamy texture to the dish.  I tested the waters and it took me a bit of experimenting, but I finally got a great pumpkin polenta dish!

Andrea’s Pumpkin Polenta

  • 1C Polenta (Regular, not quick cooking)
  • 3C Chicken Stock
  • 1/2C Pumpkin puree
  • 4 Green onions, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, chopped
  • 5-6 Slices of crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 1C Chipotle Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil for sauteeing (about 2 tsp)

In a medium sized sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add in the jalapeno.  Sautee for about two minutes, then add in the chicken stock.  Bring stock to a boil and add in the polenta. Reduce your heat down to medium at this point.  Stir continually until the polenta starts to thicken up.  It should resemble the consistency of a hot cereal, like cream of wheat.  Add in the salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder and stir.  Once you have the right consistency, turn the heat down to low and add in the pumpkin.  Stir until well incorporated.  Add in the cheese and stir.  Now add in the bacon and green onion.  Mix to combine, and serve!  Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top for added flavor.

You can see that this is not a sweet or dessert type polenta.  But one with some spiciness and a touch of salty sass from the bacon.  The pumpkin gives the polenta it’s trademark orange color while making the dish extra creamy.  Using more than 1/2 a cup of pumpkin will result in a polenta that is too runny and it will not set up nice for you.

I used Cabot Chipotle Cheddar but if you can’t find that or don’t want to use that, you can sub in some pepperjack for kick or regular cheddar.

This can easily be made veggie friendly by using a vegetable stock and omitting the bacon.

I wouldn’t have minded if this actually had a bit more spice to it, next time I might use a chipotle pepper plus some sauce instead of the jalapeno.

This dish makes a nice fall inspired side dish that’s full of flavor and I bet would surprise many that it contains pumpkin.

Keep in mind that this makes a lot of polenta!  Great for a party!  If you have leftovers, place it in a shallow baking dish.  The next day, cut into squares and sautee up in a bit of oil.  That will give the polenta a nice crispy outside and make leftovers a little more exciting.

Do you like polenta?   When was the first time you had it?

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!