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Bristol's pumpkin passion

The bombers vanished by 4:08 p.m., an hour after they'd gone on sale. A year ago, they'd held out until around 7.

Last Friday, Bristol Brewing Co.'s Venetucci Pumpkin Ale created a stir previously unseen on South Tejon Street, with a line leading out the door and past the building. By midday Saturday, no more drafts could be had in-house, and shelves at most nearby liquor stores had been raided as well.

The only drops of this year's batch left to be scored, according to Bristol "beerocrat" Laura Long, are from a handful of kegs at local businesses. As of Monday, they included Kinfolks, Front Range Barbeque, Old Chicago, Rasta Pasta and the Blue Star.

"A lot of people say it's the best pumpkin ale they've ever had," says Long. "We use real pumpkins, not a purée or extract. Nobody could afford the labor or ingredients on the large scale. And every year, we're busier from the story's own momentum."

That story starts with Nick Venetucci's legacy (giving some 5 million pumpkins to children over the years), and continues with the 20 or so volunteers who now pick and then roast the pumpkins on Bristol's back patio. The happy ending comes with 100 percent of the 51 barrels' profits (some $15,000 last year) going directly to the farm's sponsor, the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.

Given factors such as the farm's pumpkin output and the amount of the squash that can fit into the beer mash, Long says it's unlikely the brewery will increase the volume of future Venetucci Ale productions. So, if you want to worship the great pumpkin next year, best bust out the camping gear.

Tasty topography

While on the topic of beer fanaticism, you should know that the updated third edition of the Beer Drinker's Guide to Colorado ( was recently released, featuring 121 suds sights and an enhanced relief map "recognized as a Space Imagination Product by the Space Foundation's Space Certification Program." Betcha weren't expecting that.

Rolled and fold-up versions cost $12.95 and laminated copies go for $39.95. The good news: Those costs are offset by more than $100 in coupons for beer, food, brew supplies and more, included with each map.

À la carte

The Cañon City Queen Anne Tea House (813 Macon Ave., Cañon City, 719/275-5354) will host "The Art of Cake and Cookie Decorating" at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24. $30 buys recipes and samples; reservations required.

• Attend the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort (3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, 538-9819). Seats are $150, and proceeds benefit the charity.

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