On May 10, 1996 Dick Cantwell, Dave Buhler and Joe Bisacca cut palms and shook hands, forming the partnership beer-lovers know as Elysian Brewing. Today, and all this week, one of Seattle’s best-loved breweries celebrates its anniversary and readies itself to perform a beautifully executed stage dive into the future.
Congratulations are most certainly in order for the venerable Seattle brewery. For the past 15 years Elysian has brewed up delicious beers, winning countless medals and gaining regional and national recognition. That’s an understatement. Dick Cantwell is one of the most highly respected brewmasters in America, considered a visionary and a trend-setter. Dave Buhler and Joe Bisacca have done a brilliant job of advancing the Elysian brand and expanding the business. More understatements. In addition to its three brewpubs, Elysian will soon open a production-only facility in Georgetown. The future seems very bright.
Congratulations, and thank you for not naming your brewery Obligatory Large Geographic Feature Brewing Company. That’s kind of an inside joke, but not anymore.
Celebration on the Hill and Beyond
The celebration is already underway at all three Elysian brewpubs, running from May 9th through May 13th. Across the three pubs, you’ll find 15 special beers to mark the occasion. The official anniversary party is today (Tuesday, May 10th) at the Capitol Hill brewpub, where Elysian is hosting a Throw-Back Party. The event features clothes, music and menu items reminiscent of 1996. The fun kicks off with a Retro Happy Hour (3:00 – 5:00), which will feature 1996 beer prices. Elysian will also pull some fun stuff out of the cellar, which always sounds promising.
Do you remember the 1990s? I’ll try. The deposit you paid on a keg was $15. Maybe only $10. We still called it microbrew and had yet to embrace the word craft. IPA was rare. The typical microbrew-lover tended to gravitated towards Ambers back then. Pale Ale was starting to gain ground. The big Father’s Day brew festival took place at the old Herb Farm in Fall City. Remember what a cute little beer fest that was? KMTT The Mountain was actually a pretty good radio station and KISW still played music. The Mariners didn’t suck, but the stadium they played in did.
So dust off your flannel shirt, give that old cardigan a shot of Fabreze, and join Elysian this afternoon and evening as they celebrate their birthday by remembering the 90s. Don’t forget to wear your Doc Martens; you never know when you might get caught in a mosh.
15 years and 180 Beers
Beyond simply throwing a party, it is not surprising the way Elysian decided to celebrate its 15th birthday. Elysian Brewing distributed ballots asking its fans to vote for their favorite all-time Elysian beers. The ballot was spectacular: over the past 15 years Elysian created in excess of 180 different beers. Show-offs.
Below is the list of winners: the top 15 vote-getters. These beers, along with the 15th Anniversary Beer, will be poured at all Elysian locations during the five day celebration.
1. AK-47 MALT LIQUOR
2. ZEPHYRUS PILSNER
3. PROMETHEUS IPA
4. THE GREAT PUMPKIN ALE
5. AVATAR JASMINE IPA
6. BIFROST WINTER ALE
7. YUZU’S GOLDEN ALE
8. ROSEMARY’S BABY IPA
9. CYCLOPS BARLEY WINE
10. SAISON POIVRE (Peppercorn Saison)
11. XOXO CHOCOLATE CHILE STOUT
12. DRY-HOPPED IPA
13. LOSER PALE ALE
14. AMBROSIA MAIBOCK
15. (ROTATER, TIE)