Review: Elysian Pumpkin Beers and Space Dust IPA
We’ve still got another few weeks before pumpkin beer season ends, so please indulge our slightly belated look at a whopping four pumpkin brews from Seattle’s Elysian… plus one regular old bottling that doesn’t have any pumpkin in it at all (just because).
Elysian The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Brewed with pumpkin seeds and additional pumpkin fruit, then spiced with cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. An impressive head of pumpkin spice kicks in up front, and the palate is bursting not with hops but with notes of cinnamon and cloves. The brown sugar notes linger well into the buttery, dessert-like finish. This is probably as close to actually drinking pumpkin pie as you can get and still call it a beer. Crazy stuff, but actually kind of good? 8.4% abv. B+ / $9 (22 oz.)
Elysian Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale – A “Stumptown coffee toddy with pumpkin added to the mash and fermenter.” There’s more of a sharp ale character here, and less sweetness as the coffee immediately makes its presence known with a significant acidity and dark roast coffee character. Lightly nutty and with a hint of chocolate, it’s tempered on the finish by a pinch of brown sugar. Quite unique. 6% abv. B / $10 (22 oz.)
Elysian Dark Knife Pumpkin Schwarzbier – 2018 is Elysian’s first stab at this style, a Munich-style schwarzbier with 90 pounds of pumpkin plus cinnamon and ginger added to the mix. Much drier than the above two brews, the pumpkin influence here is restrained but present, as a significant hoppiness pushes to the fore. Notes of citrus and fresh ginger add complexity, though there’s a distinct coffee note that endures on the finish. 4.3% abv. B / $8 (22 oz.)
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – A straight-up pumpkin ale, brewed with pumpkin seeds, puree, and juice, and “spiced in conditioning with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.” Much like The Great Pumpkin above, this is liquid pumpkin pie, with no discernable hoppy bitterness or other beer character to it — and with a slightly lower abv. The spice bill on this one is even more forward, pushing sweetness aside in lieu of an aggressive Christmas spice attack. Simply choose your poison between the two. 6.7% abv. B+ / $10 (22 oz.)
Elysian Space Dust IPA – The beer for which Elysian is probably best known — and a perfect chaser to 88 ounces of pumpkin beer. This bold American IPA is juicier than most expressions which don’t claim to be “hazy,” brewed with Chinook, Citra, and Amarillo hops. Big and bitter up front, but tempered with light notes of pineapple, lime, and orange peel, all of which make it much lighter on its feet than its elevated abv would suggest. A fresh and lightly flowery finish is the perfect icing on an already stellar (no pun intended) cake. 8.2% abv. A / $11 per six-pack