(WA) Review: Elysian's The Great Pumpkin Beer Fest (GPBF), Going Back For More

image courtesy of our Flickr page This morning, with the sun laughing at those foolish dress for summer, we visited the hallowed ground of Elysian Brewing Company and the sixth (6th) annual Great Pumpkin Festival.

A quick word of caution some of these beers might not be available tomorrow, due to limited availability. It’s not uncommon for a festival to list a beer on their flyer, only to point to a vacant spot where a tap handle once rested. This is regrettably the price that is paid for showing up a day later.

Featured across five stations were some THIRTY NINE different beers with a strong showing by the host brewery, at over eight beers. Pondering where to begin, we started with an anticipated ale that didn't show up last year, Russian River's Pumpkin Sour.

image courtesy of our Flickr page Russian River Pumpkin Sour

Brewery Description. 100% Brettanomyces fermented barrel aged sour pumpkin ale. 6.75% ABV.

Our Thoughts
You Should Try This. Cept' mentioning that this beer doesn't immediately fit the pumpkin themed profile, it's definitely an exceptional sour ale with a sense of pumpkins. Feeling a peckish? Try the Turkey Frites, a slow-roasted turkey leg served over sweet potato fries with fresh sage, topped with pumpkin-sherry cream sauce.

Following up our Russian River, we had to get our hands on something local, so we went with Big Time Sasquash.

image courtesy of our Flickr page Big Time Sasquash

Brewery Description. A special blend of Hopgoblin and an 'only brewed once a year beer' with some stout added for complexity, and respiced with additional cloves and allspice. 8% ABV

Our Thoughts
You Must Try This. As a seasoned vet of the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, we are constantly on the lookout for breweries that demonstrate their impressions on what a pumpkin ale or lager is. This beer does not disappoint one bit. If you are willing to leave the safety of the festival grounds, you are encouraged to this this beer with the Maple Braised Pork Belly. A Kurobuta pork belly, slow-braised, served with poached baby squash, roasted chanterelle mushrooms and apple-sage jus.

image courtesy of our Flickr page Moving onto something familiar we walked over in homage by getting our hands on the festival namesake beer, The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale. For us this was the first time in a little while, since we had this beer. Want to hear our thoughts on this beer, it's the same as our thoughts here.

Taking a short break from drinking, we decided to review the next beer on our list and settled on the Bruce Camp-Ale hailing from Willmington, Deleware.

image courtesy of our Flickr page Bruce Camp-Ale

Brewery Description. A tribute to The Chin himself. Bourbon barrel-aged imperial pumpkin ale. Bruce Camp Ale is created slowly over many moons by allowing their Ichabod Imperial Belgian Pumpkin Ale to age and mellow in fresh Heaven Hill bourbon barrel. The resulting beer is bursting with decadent notes of vanilla and oak that marry well with spicy complexities of the base beer. 9.5% ABV. 28 IBU.

Our Thoughts
You Must Try This. Assuming that this beer is around tomorrow, this beer left us with roated barley, dark fruits, along with the familiar spices (cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg). Definitely a do not pass up beer if you want to try something from out of town. Admittedly we feel like this beer would work well with a scoop of Great Pumpkin ice cream with traditional pie spices.

The last beer on our list (for now) this writer selected the Elysian 8472 Dark Sour Pumpkin Ale (vintage '09).

image courtesy of our Flickr page 8472 Dark Sour Pumpkin Ale ('09)

Brewery Description. An ungulate lifeform so badass the Borg turns and runs, oh, and a dark sour pumpkin ale, brewed with pale, Munich, wheat, oats, rye, corn and pumpkin in the mash and kettle. Bittered with aged Hallertauer hops. The "next generation" of the sour Belgian blend after Mr. Yuck. Brewed at Tangletown. 6.6% ABV.

Our Thoughts
You Should Try This. Another wonderfully conceived creation from the minds who gave us the Night Owl, Great Pumpkin, and Dark O' The Moon Stout. Call us crazy but thoughts starting leaning towards the Curried Lamb Stew. Served with pumpkin-habanero bisque, grilled pita, and pickled cauliflower.

Well that's all for now, but rest assured we will be going back tomorrow (Sunday October 16th, starting at 12:00 PM).

image courtesy of our Flickr pageFor this writer (who admits to checking in previous festival years, Sunday rather than Saturday) was surprised given how organized the staff handled access to the festival, from the tickets sold near the entrance to the back loading dock, to the positioning of the beers, they showed they learned from the mistakes of year's passed. If there was a beer we missed (like a certain Allagash beer), let us know, we would love to hear about it.

Till then, look for a followup tomorrow about our experiences Sunday.

 October 17th, 2010 12:00 PM PDT
The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, Elysian “Capitol Hill”
1221 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 860-192


In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free admission to the festival and provided tickets to be used in exchanged for the beers used as research prior to writing this review.

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