Sure, we are enjoying a bit of an Indian summer but even when the sun shines you can feel it in the air. The afternoons are bright and sunny but the darkness descends earlier and earlier each day. It is now unmistakably October in Seattle and the long wet nap is about to begin. For beer lovers, that means it is time for the Elysian Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, one last big hurray before we drift into wintry semi-consciousness.
This weekend (Oct. 16-17) Elysian Brewing will host the 6th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. The event will feature 40 different pumpkin beers from near and far. The event takes place at Elysian’s Capitol Hill Brewery and Pub (Saturday 12:00 – 10:00, Sunday 12:00 – 6:00). The $18 admission includes a souvenir glass and six drink tickets. Additional tickets are $2. The event also includes pumpkin carving and pumpkin-themed foods.
Yes, I said Pumpkin Beer
Depending upon the depth of your knowledge about craft beer, you’d be surprised to know that so many breweries are making so many different types of pumpkin beer. Creativity is an important element in the art of brewing and the pumpkin offers a big orange canvas upon which brewers can blend brewing science and imagination.
Dick Cantwell, the brewmaster at Elysian, is the person we can blame for all of this pumpkin madness. If there is such a thing as a pumpkin beer guru, it is probably Dick Cantwell. He’s kind of bonkers about it. Among the 40 beers being poured this weekend, no less than six of them are from Elysian.
Conceptually, pumpkin beer might sound scary to the uninitiated. Get over it. This is good stuff. Pumpkin beers vary in intensity. Some offer only a vague hint of pumpkin and others feature an almost overwhelming pumpkin character. One beer might make you think of pumpkin pie and another might bring to mind buttery yams. Others will simply taste like beer and you might struggle to believe they used pumpkin at all. Some will be Stout and others will be Hefeweizen. The possibilities are limitless. However you swing as a craft beer drinker, I promise you will find at least one beer that will blow your mind.
The Tapping of the Great Pumpkin
If you want a real treat, be there at 4:00 (both days) for the Tapping of the Great Pumpkin. Each year the brewers at Elysian hollow out two giant pumpkins and fill them up with beer. They seal the pumpkin back up using hot wax and the beer undergoes its final conditioning inside the pumpkin. They tap the pumpkin using a standard drill and the beer flows into waiting pitchers and glasses.
The Elysian Great Pumpkin Beer Fest will feature beers brewed by local breweries like the University District’s Big Time Brewing, Greenwood’s Naked City Brewing, and West Seattle’s Elliott Bay Brewing, but will also showcase beers from as far away as Maine and Delaware. (Complete list below.)
- Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
- The Great Pumpkin
- Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout
- Hansel and Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner
- Kaiser Kurbis Pumpkin Hefeweizen
- Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin Ale
- A surprise new brew and treats from the Elysian Cellar
Guest Washington Beers:
- Big Time Brewing
- Silver City Brewing
- Snipes Mountain Brewing
- Naked City Brewing
- Elliott Bay Brewing
- Schooner Exact Brewing
- Rock Bottom Brewing
- Fremont Brewing
- Diamond Knot Brewing
- Anacortes Brewing
- Ram-Puyallup Brewing
- Rogue-Issaquah Brewing
- Two Beers Brewing
Out of State Guests:
- Allagash Brewing (Portland, Maine)
- Russian River Brewing (Santa Rosa, California)
- Iron Hill Brewing (Wilmington, Delaware)
- Cambridge Brewing (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
- Nodding Head Brewing (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- Jolly Pumpkin Brewing (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
- Dogfish Head Brewing (Milton, Delaware)
- Stewart’s Brewing (Bear, Delaware)
- Beer Valley Brewing (Ontario, Oregon)
- Laurelwood Brewing (Portland, Oregon)