From SBN contributor Chris Clemetson.
It was a beautiful Saturday for a beer festival in Seattle, and it just so happened that the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest was taking place in Georgetown at Elysian’s new production brewing facility. Elysian claims this pumpkin-focused beer fest to be the granddaddy of ‘em all and it surely is impressive, especially if you are intrigued by pumpkin beers.
This was my first time attending the event, but luckily I was accompanied by a self-proclaimed pumpkin beer aficionado. I enjoy trying new beers and styles that you can’t get anywhere else. The festival was truly impressive in the number and variety of pumpkin beers available. Even if pumpkin beer is not your favorite style there was enough variety and interesting beers to be had that I think anyone would have a great time.
There were plenty of interesting beers available, but a couple in particualar stood out to me. The Silver City Punk Rauchen (Smoked Pumpkin Lager) was a campfire in a glass at first taste but the apple wood complimented the fresh pumpkin and the hops balanced it out well; overall it was a great Rauchbier. There were a few sour beers available to taste including the New Belgium/Elysian collaboration called KICK, which was a pleasure. There was a lot going on with this beer but I felt it was in great balance and I very much enjoyed it in the afternoon sun. Another notable sour was Mr. Yuck from Elysian. This had plenty of sour flavor, but it was gentle and smooth and was even enjoyed by my wife, who at best is skeptical when it comes to tasting sour beers. There were also some bourbon aged ales used as the base for pumpkin beers, including the Fremont Brewing Punk’n Bbomb. It was delicious with lots of bourbon up front and finishing with a nice compliment of spices.
There were a few other observations that I noted. This was the first year that tickets were available for pre-order and as expected it was the way to go if you are the type of person that likes to plan ahead. The new Elysian production brewing facility is impressive; much bigger then I had anticipated. While most of the festival was held outdoors, a few stations were indoors so you could get a first-hand look at the facilities. I wasn’t at the Sunday session, but this year they made an effort to make sure that it wasn’t just the leftovers for Sunday and that no matter what day you went you would get an interesting selection of beers. Overall, we had a great time. It helped that the sun was shining, and this year turned out to be a great time. If you didn’t make it this year, I’d highly suggest looking forward to the GPBF in 2012. If you had any thoughts or favorites, let us know.