Pumpkin This, Oktoberfest That…

This is by far my favorite time of year. October. That time of year when everyone wears an extra sweater, houses are decked out in spooky decor, and all you want to do is wrap yourself up in a blanket made out of hearty Oktoberfest beer.  Now that would be a blanket!

I’ve never been to Germany, but they seem to have this October thing figured out.  Good food, like the Huhn Bier Mushroom Spatzl I’ve been drooling over on Moguls seasonal menu, and good beer, like Spaten–the lager, the Oktoberfest, and the way-too-fun-to-say Optimator.

While Oktoberfest is all the rage in the States, another trend has taken October by storm: pumpkin! Seriously, a guy can’t go to his mail box without seeing something pumpkin-flavored. And (fortunately) the North Shore is no exception.

So, in honor of this season, I present the 5 greatest pumpkin-flavored things on the North Shore!

BEER! - Moguls, Lutsen  Raise your hand if you knew I was going to start with this one. Okay, put your hands down everybody. I like beer, deal with it. And it’s undeniable that October brings out the best in brewers. Not only for Oktoberfest brews–Great Lakes and Lake Superior get high marks for sure–but for the beermakers trying their hand at pumpkin spice ales. For sheer drinkability, you can’t deny the crisp, subtle taste of Third Street‘s Jack’d Up Autumn Ale. However, if you’re looking for a piece of pumpkin pie in a glass that will really knock you on your…bottom, try Southern Tier Pumpking–but make sure you have a ride!


Pumpkin PIe Blizzard – Dairy Queen, Grand Marais  Back when I worked for a certain ice creamery that was kept very cold, and used a stone, everybody went absolutely nuts for our seasonal Pumpkin Pie ice cream. Finally, Dairy Queen has jumped on the bandwagon too with a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard that is absolutely to die for. Cold as it is, there’s something about those hints of nutmeg that warms your soul, blocking out any chill as you trapse around the Grand Marais harbor, staring at the epic waves Superior throws against the lighthouse.


Pumpkin-White Chocolate Mocha – Moondance, Lutsen  A lot of coffee shops offer a pumpkin-something-something latte, but–after rigorous experimentation and sampling–I’ve discovered that Moondance Coffee House does it best. Just in case you need that extra kick of caffeine before trekking the Oberg lookout to spot those breathtaking reds and yellows of the fall.


Pumpkin-White Chocolate Mocha Shake – Grand Marais Fusion, Grand Marais  Feeling guilty about that blizzard? Overdo it with the whip cream on that latte? Maybe the healthy protein shake version is more your cup of tea. Fusion in Grand Marais loves trying out new fall flavors like this one–maybe you’ll discover the next! Or at the very least take in their awesome view of the harbor.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup – Gunflint Tavern, Grand Marais  Though it’s hard to catch it, this soup will get your revved up for that brisk walk around Grand Marais, where the local haunts are just starting to show their fall colors. But be warned…it’s really spicy!

Can you get these things elsewhere? Maybe. Can you enjoy them while taking in the view of Lake Superior in the greatest corner of Minnesota ever? Doubt it. So, quick, get up here before that white stuff starts flying–

You’re talking about the whip cream again, right?

–and take in the North Shore in all its October glory. The Oktoberfest menu items at Moguls will run throughout the month–oh my lord, you have to try the bacon-glazed rindermedallions–and the seasonal brews will keep flowing right into your mug.

With that, I leave you to your own devices. The food and drink of October is great, but next week things are going to get a little…spooky.



Stay tuned.


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