I’m only about a week behind on writing about last weekend’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest at Elysian Brewing in Seattle (at their Georgetown brewery, really), but I have to say it was again an epic beer festival and reaffirms my notion last year that this is right at the top of my list of favorite fests. This year was the 10th annual iteration of Elysian’s fest and like last year, we got in with media credentials for free on Friday, and paid for additional tickets for Saturday. I would happily pay for both days though be warned—if you are looking to go next (or any) year, tickets sell out quickly so don’t hesitate when the time comes.
There’s not a lot to say that isn’t already covered in the gallery of photos attached, but I do have a few thoughts.
Originally this tenth GPBF was slated to take place at Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle, among other things) but plans fell through and it returned to Elysian’s Georgetown brewery. That venue works, they have a large lot that comfortable holds food trucks, pouring stations, the great pumpkin (filled with beer) and a central tent with tables. More stations and tables are located inside the brewery, and though it got crowded both days, it was never rowdy or obnoxious or had that “drinking party” vibe that is often encountered at other festivals. (In no small part, I suspect, because tickets had to be purchased to attend, rather than open at the door for the price of the glass and tickets.)
In addition to the media pass, we also had access to the brewery’s VIP/hospitality section of the fest, reserved for brewers and other special guests of Elysian. This was located inside the brewery in the “crow’s nest” center of brewery operations—among the mash tun and kettles and central computerized control system overlooking the brewery floor. Elysian had set up a self-serve jockey box pouring their Space Dust IPA and a barrel-aged Loser Pale Ale, and it was a nice escape/respite from the overall fest and crowds when one wanted a break.
There were 84 main beers pouring, plus a certain number of super-specialty “TBA” beers that showed up and any given time. It was a phenomenal lineup, though by day two there were many more lines than the previous day. And then some stations had no lines at all, which seemed odd particularly since there were beers pouring that I would have thought warranted a line—but no matter, easier access for me!
Here are the beers I had overall:
- Cambridge Old Butternuts (barrel-aged Old Ale, 9% abv)
- Cambridge The Great Pumpkin Ale (classic spiced amber ale, 5.4%)
- The Lost Abbey Avant Gourde (Bière de Garde with spices and Brett, 7%)
- Schooner Exact Whiskey Dick Cantwell (Full name continues, “Hey Matt, where’s my fucking pumpkin beer?” Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale, 10%)
- Elysian The Great Gherkin Cucumber Pumpkin Ale (yep, you read that right, 6.5%)
- Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale (tastes like Florida? 10%)
- Elysian Gourdgia on my Mind Pecan Peach Pumpkin Amber (6.4%)
- Elysian Gourdon’s Gin Barrel-aged Pumpkin Beer (botanical, 5.6%)
- Avery Rumpkin (TBA beer, super limited, we got the first pours day two before the line went insane. 18%)
- No-Li Brewhouse Krumpkin (Cranberry imperial pumpkin, 8.1%)
- Elysian Coche de Medianoche (Mexican-inspired, spices, chili and pumpkin seeds, 7.5%)
- Elysian Gourdfather Pumpkin Barleywine (great beer, longest line I stood in, 11.2%)
- Hopworks Urban Brewery The Gourd, The Bad, and the Ugly (pumpkin ale with chilies, 8%)
- Almanac Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine (12%)
- Elysian Orange is the New Black Pumpkin Stout (inspired by chocolate oranges, 6.5%)
- Iron Hill Ichabod Imperial Belgian Pumpkin Ale (9.5%)
- Elysian P-Smoove Nitro Pumpkin Cream Ale (5.1%)
- Boneyard Orange is the New Jack (5%)
- Black Raven 2013 Harbinger Strong Pumpkin Stout (7.4%)
- Elysian Kurpitsahti (Finnish Sahti-inpsired, 4.25%)
- Schlafly Pumpkin Ale (classic, 8%)
I also had a pour of the beer in the great pumpkin midway through day one (which I suspect what Elysian’s Punkuccino), and tastes of 10 Barrel Pumpkin Pucker and a bottle-dregs-splash of Allagash Ghoulship. Not a bad beer among them, though I know they are most definitely not for everyone! (The Great Gherkin, anyone?)
Not much more I can say that this gallery of pictures can’t, other than, put this Festival on your beer bucket list!