Festival Review: WA: Elysian Brewing’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival reminds us that 2012 can’t come soon enough.

image courtesy of our Flickr pageLast Saturday and Sunday a little thing called The Great Pumpkin Beer Fest occurred in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. And depending on which day you went you either got a partial tan or walked around with sunglasses tucked in your pocket.

Situated just near the Lucile Street Overpass (heading South), Elysian Brewing’s production brewery played host to what has been a unique tradition in Seattle for the past 7 years.

In the past GPBF was hosted at the breweries first location on Captiol Hill. Over the year’s what started out as a casual sit down festival exploded into a claustrophobic nightmare. But it didn’t stop there. As many who have attended during those year’s can attest, showing up on the first day had it’s rewards. Did we mention the claustrophobic’s inspiring crowds?

That was last year. This year the brewery’s great minds Joe Bisacca  (Co-Owner & Restaurant Operations head), David Buhler (Co-Owner Sales & Marketing) and Dick Cantwell (Co-Owner & Brewery Operations head); moved the festival to Georgetown. While the location to the locals might seem a bit sketchy the experience was anything but.

Located just off Airport way and down the street from Full Throttle Bottles this year’s Elysian Great Pumpkin Festival provided me enthusiasm as I looked at the list when the festival started at 12:00 PM.

image from Elysian's Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, courtesy of our Flickr page Despite what many people would have presumed, there was many beers still available for those to try. But while breweries like Valholl were lost to Saturday’s hangover-tainted memories, others remained. What was even better was that some beers that weren’t available on Saturday were now on draft.

Admittedly after reviewing the list I started with Naked City's Aaahhh .. Gus Gus Pumpkin Blossom Saison.

You already know the Cinderella theme. We mashed in at Midnight with about 15 pajama clad girls. In our story, it wasn’t a coach that turned into a pumpkin at midnight, it was the beer. Naked City’s Pumpkin Beer offering is a Pumpkin Blossom Saison. In a 3bbl batch (roughly 6 kegs of beer) I split over 30 lbs of pumpkin meat between the mash and the boil. At whirlpool I added 100 pumpkin blossoms and 8 oz. of Market Spice Tea. The beer was fermented with a blend of Wyeast Saison 3724 and 3711 and primed in the bright tank with pumpkin blossom honey. 6.5% ABV.

If you liked Naked City’s description then you would have enjoyed our other favorites Cambridge Great Pumpkin Ale, Elysian Coche de Medianoche, Elysian Orange Manalishi (if orange juice could be beer), Silver City Punk Rauchen, and Schooner Exact Gutter Punk’n. Heck even the Dark O’the Moon fermented in a large pumpkin and aged with oak chips was memorable.

image of Elysian Great Pumpkin Fest and Mighty-O Donut courtesy of our Flickr page Additionally the brewery was smart enough to seek local food vendors Skillet, Snout & Co., Mighty-O Donuts and Where ya at Matt. For our money we enjoyed the Pumpkin Spice mini-donuts from Mighty-O as well as the Bluebird Ice Cream Dark O’the Moon Stout.

If this positive review could be countered by anything negative it would more than likely be the common complaint by many that the beers “… didn’t taste like pumpkin”. Truth be told Pumpkin isn’t a very taste-rich gourd. Heck if you really get down to it, does Pumpkin Pie really taste like pumpkins? Personally I think it tastes like a creamy pie with allspice, cinnamon, clove, and topped with whipped cream.

Overall we can say that so long as the brewery is willing to use this location next year and demonstrate good crowd management, I can see myself (and others) coming back year after year.

So to Dick, Dave, Joe, and the entire staff (including Dan-O) at Elysian Brewing, great job. See you next year.


About the photo’s 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.

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