The Brew Site

Week in review: It’s pumpkin (fest) season

This past week in beer for The Brew Site was a little bit spontaneous, and a little (lot) bit pumpkin.

Wednesday, the 14th, the Elysian Brewing Great Pumpkin Roadshow came to Bend, landing at the Platypus Pub with eight of their pumpkin beers and, for the first time ever in Bend, a giant pumpkin filled with beer.

(Quick sidebar: Since the Elysian sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev, to be honest, I’ve been ambivalent at best about supporting the corporate machine, and had not purchased any Elysian beers since the buyout. However I do still love their pumpkin beers, and Dave Chappell (their Oregon sales rep who brought the Roadshow to town) is a good guy, and I especially like to support the Platypus Pub, so off we went to the Roadshow.)

It was a packed crowd for the Platypus, and Dave and Kevin from Elysian played up the firkin pumpkin well—not only was it filled with their pumpkin beer, but they also added a can of peaches. Yep. I took a video of the tapping:

I ended up drinking their The Gourdfather Pumpkin Barleywine, and the Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner.

The next day, Thursday, I received an out-of-the-blue text from Brian Yaeger at about 9pm to meet at Bend Brewing Company for a beer. Turns out he was with several other writers and media folk on a press junket with 10 Barrel Brewing; as it happened, I has originally also been invited on the junket but turned it down due to work and time commitments. With Brian’s impromptu invite we ended up stumbling into the pub crawl portion of the junket. And Bend Brewing was inexplicably closed, so we all went to the Deschutes Brewery Pub for some beers.

I still couldn’t join the junket, but my wife Sherri could the next day, and was invited to join at 10 Barrel’s brewery at 10am. She’ll have a blog post coming about that visit.

Friday night we ended up back at Deschutes Brewery so I could get the fresh hop beer flight for their Fresh Hop Celebration:

The Fresh Hop Wit and Fresh Hop Scottish Ale were the least fresh-hoppy of the bunch, and the Fresh Hop City was great.

Saturday we (the family) made a (somewhat) spur-of-the-moment day trip to Portland, mostly to shop for an upcoming birthday, but we also ended up doing a quick side-trip over to the Green Dragon’s Killer Pumpkin Fest. (Though we started with lunch at The Ram in Clackamas, where they have a really nice fresh hop beer on right now.) Ironically the Elysian Great Pumpkin Roadshow was there as well, so we got to experience the beer-filled pumpkin tapping once again.

The Fest itself was impressive though very crowded; we spent much of our time visiting with Brewpublic’s D.J. Paul, and the kids enjoyed the pumpkin smashing (small pumpkins + sledgehammer = big mess!). Our strategy for getting beers was to get as many in one trip as we could (including full pours) simply because the lines were so long.

On the other hand, if I wasn’t waiting in line drinking Wrinkle Lips, a sour pumpkin beer from Eugene’s Mancave Brewing, then I wouldn’t have met Brandon Woodruff, owner/brewer of Mancave itself! Small world indeed…

Overall though it seemed like a good fest, with a wide selection of pumpkin beers that I’ve only seen outdone at Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Festival. The crowds could use some work, perhaps by moving pouring stations out of the (very) crowded interior and into extra stations outside, spaced around the festival perimeter. But, for a couple of hours it was a good stop, and a great way to cap a beery week.