By Donavan Hall, Beer Columnist

While I've been off promoting my new book, The Beer Hall Guide to Long Island, the beer scene has been moving and shaking. 

There are many opportunities coming up and going on where the beer-curious drinker to find and taste some excellent beers and to improve their beer knowledge.  The Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts are now hosting a series of beer "study" sessions (once a month on a Thursday, see the Long Island Beer Calendar) where beer experts and novices come together at one table to taste and discuss the history and qualities of a particular beer style.

Long Island also has a beer tradition that I've not seen in other parts of the county (at least at the level that we take it): pumpkin ale season. Each September the Island's breweries release their take on a pumpkin flavored ale and we can't get enough it seems. If you have never had a pumpkin ale, you should know that there is a wide variation in the quality of the different versions out there. Some brewers gimmick-up their pumpkin ale with a sugar and spice rim. This tasty flourish hides, rather than reveals the pumpkin flavor. True pumpkin ales will be able to stand on their own and go down pleasantly without the aid of a sweetener. One such pumpkin ale is the Pumpkin Ale from Southampton Publick House.

Next Friday on Halloween, you'll be able to try cask conditioned Southampton Pumpkin Ale at DEKS American Restaurant in Rocky Point. The firkin will be tapped at 6 p.m. and anyone in costume will get their first pint on the house. Don't miss out on this opportunity to try a fantastic pumpkin ale direct from the cask.