Seattle, WA - Hard to believe but in less than a week, the Great Pumpkin Festival will be upon us again! It's amazing to think that if not for the imagination and obsession for pumpkins, by the men and women of Elysian, we would not be writing this story.
So, we decided what better way to celebrate the pending festival, than doing a preview of the Elysian beers that are currently out there for you to try. Featured at this tasting was Elysian's original fan favorite Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, its Imperial brother Great Pumpkin, and finally the recently awarded (GABF) Dark O' The Moon Pumpkin Stout.
However, as is customary we usually do some delving into the conscious minds of experts like the Beer Judge Certification Program, Wikipedia, or the Brewers Association, but here we decided it would be pretty tricky given that two of these beers (Night Owl & The Great Pumpkin) are looked to as the definitive Pumpkin Ale. So we threw the book out and decided to just taste and reflect.
Elysian Brewing's Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Is A Should Try
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, pours a deep reddish orange with strong clarity. A strong layer of off-white foamy head builds at the top, only to recede quickly leaving small islands of lace to rest inside the glass.
Swirling the glass we detect prominent bits of ginger along with baked pumpkin seeds, with secondary notes of cinnamon, allspice and a dash of clove speak to us.
A sip of this beer and immediately we detect the previously detected ginger which is followed up by mild hints of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and a sensation of biscuit breadiness underneath. Overall this beer doesn't feel heavy in your mouth but there is a subtle dryness.
Our Original Pumpkin Ale
Light to Medium
Pours hazy orange amber with a whipped-creamy head. Smells of pumpkin with a hint of spice and brown sugar. Begins with a solid pumpkin flavor followed by subtle pumpkin pie spicing. A very drinkable pumpkin ale—not too sweet and not too spicy.
Pale, Munich, Cara-Hell, Cara-Vienne, Cara-Munich and Special B
Lightly bittered with Target
Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice in fermentation. Both roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are in the mash, with pumpkin added to the mash, kettle and fermenter.
You Should Try This. Thoughts abound with this beer as the perfect side drink while one is carving a pumpkin, or baking a pie with a hearty crust. For the adventorous ones, we suggest pairing this with some chicken or turkey, or potentially some ostrich. For dessert, combine this with some pumpkin or vanilla ice cream for a night owl float.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
Elysian Brewing's The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Is A Must Have
Elysian The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, is very much like its predecessor (Night Owl) with its deep reddish-orange color and strong clarity. As the beer is poured into the glass a strong off-white head quickly forms for a moment, before the whipped topping recedes leaving hardly any evidence it was there.
Taking a deep smell we are our childhood is awakened as we are greeted by creamy pumpkin filler, with strong notes of cinnamon, vanilla, clove, nutmeg, and subtle bits of ginger.
Eager to try this we take a sip and are introduced to nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, spices; before the sweet taste of vanilla causes a smile to creep across our face, with our face starting to beam even more as the beer finishes with a welcome creamy sensation. Overall this beer does not feel too heavy in your mouth.
Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Pours deep copper with ghostly white head. Intense pumpkin, sugar and spice on the nose with a nice bready and malty backdrop to tame all those autumn spices into a remarkably smooth, balanced and delectable fall treat.
Pale, Munich, Cara-Hell, Cara-Vienne, Cara-Munich and Crisp 45° L Crystal malts
Bittered with Magnum
Roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash, and extra pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
You Must Have This. Thoughts dart quickly to our mother's or grandmother's pumpkin pies, with a well formed whip cream on the top.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
Elysian Dark O' The Moon Pumpkin Stout, Is A Should Try
Elysian Dark O' The Moon Pumpkin Stout, much like the base this beer comes from pours dark and without any clarity, save a small ridgeline of burgundy at the base of the glass. What starts out a strong mocha colored, foamy head; quickly disappears leaving no trace of the cloudy puff that was on top of the dark abyss.
As we take our first inhale of this beer, we detect an ashen smokiness, which mixes with dark chocolate, and a medium presence of mashed pumpkins.
Taking a sip, we detect roasted coffee and burnt toffee, which merges with hints of molasses, and minor cinnamon, before finishing with a sensation of dark chocolate morsels. Overall this beer feels average on the tongue and without any harshness.
Spookily Smooth and Chocolatey
Medium to Full
Pours dark as night with creamy tan head. A little smokiness on the nose with malty bittersweet chocolate and a little coffee with subtle earthy pumpkin and spices for an overall nice and creamy mouth.
Great Western pale, Crisp 77° Crystal, Munich, Cara-Vienne, roasted, chocolate and Special B
Bittered with Magnum and finished with Saaz and crushed cinnamon
Pumpkin in the mash, kettle and fermenter
You Should Try This. Thoughts bounce around on this beer given that it almost tastes like a Dragonstooth Stout fermented with Pumpkins. Feeling adventurous, have some turkey, chicken, or pork with a side of applesauce or apples. Also consider a B.L.T. with this.
The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, starts this Saturday (October 16th, 2010) at 12:00 PDT, so you better get in liner early. As always, you can find the beers listed at your local grocer, or potentially on draft at Elysian’s three locations.
October 16th, 2010 12:00 PM PDT & October 17th, 2010 12:00 PM PDT
The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, Elysian “Capitol Hill”
1221 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 860-1920
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.