Elysian Brewing

I’ve been going to the Elysian for years, but haven’t gotten around to doing an “official” taster visit. My friends Greg and Alice were in town from Switzerland (they took me to three Swiss breweries and recommended a fourth when I was there earlier this year), and Greg called me from the Elysian. So I grabbed my little notebook and headed over. It was early September, luckily enough — none of the various Elysian pumpkin beers were ready yet. Phew! Some people love the pumpkin beers. I’m not one of them…

Update! October 31, 2011: I’ve been back to the Elysian twice since this post and have tried two small batch wet hop beers. Yum and double yum! The last time I went they had four (!) different pumpkin beers on tap. Yikes. I love Halloween, but this is just too scary for me. 7/21/12: I’ve been going to the monthly releases of the 12 Beers of the Apocalypse at the various Elysians and quietly updating this post with new beers.  Figured I should say something about it.  Release parties have been pretty crowded but fun, and the beers have all been interesting.  By year’s end (or the Apocalypse, whichever comes first), this will be a very long post.

Elysian Brewing

Elysian Brewing taster sword — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Torrent Pale Beet Bock – 7% – Seventh Beer of the Apocalypse.  Great red color.  Good mix of sweetness and bitterness — beet flavor goes really well with the rest.  I’m not usually a beet fan, but I guess there’s always an exception.  Don’t taste the dirt flavor of beets but maybe here it becomes “terroir” or something.  Nice lingering beety bitterness.
  • Shiny Object IPA – 6.5% – Sharp citrus aroma.  Nice blend of hop flavors, with a healthy dose of bitterness and grapefruit.  Crisp for what looks like an unfiltered beer.  Subtle sweetness, too.  Shiny, shiny!
  • The Dread Oak-aged Imperial Stout – 9.6% – Awesome aroma of whisky and chocolate.  Thick and creamy with strong whiskey and chocolate flavors.  Yum!
  • Wasteland Elderflower Saison – 6.8% – Sixth Beer of the Apocalypse.  Strong fruity and flowery flavors, but not too sweet — there’s a bit of tartness to it.  Underlying banana/clove and slight alcohol edge.  Pretty cool mix of flavors.
  • Washington Grange Farmhouse Ale – 7.4% – 2012 National Homebrewers Conference commemorative beer.  Pretty similar to Wasteland, but $1 less for a full pint.  Slightly heavier and a little sweeter than Wasteland, with a touch of caramel maltiness.  Mint is pretty subtle but there if you look for it.  All Washington ingredients.
  • Ruin Rosemary Agave IPA – 7.5% – Fifth Beer of the Apocalypse.  Good subtle hoppy aroma, kinda citrusy.  Really smooth body, eases into bitter finish.  Couldn’t really taste the rosemary, lemon, or agave sweetness until it warmed up a little, then it got nice and complex.
  • Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout – 7.25% – Official beer of Seattle Beer Week 2012.  Good coffee aroma.  Great silky smooth coffee flavor that lingers nicely.  Not too heavy.  Subtle smokiness.  Awesome!
  • Ryezome – 6.2% – hoppy red ale – Floral aroma. Great solid ale with floral hoppiness mixed well with the rye. Awesome full body. Could drink this all day, or at least until I passed out.
  • Rapture Heather Ale – Second beer of the apocalypse. Good smooth ale. Very drinkable, but schooner only. Nice mix of maltiness and floral notes, slightly sweet. Lingering bitterness.
  • Trip XI – 8.5% – Farmhouse Ale – Strong rosemary and sage aroma. Bubbly herbal blast. Lingering rosemary and sage flavors, too. A really fun beer. Sour edge balances the herbs quite nicely.
  • Backstage Pale Ale – 5.8% – Great hoppy start. Subtle juniper notes to bready finish. Pretty light on the tongue, too.
  • Bifrost Winter Ale – 7.6% – Nice and light, with a strong bitter finish that lasts and lasts.
  • Bete Blanche – 6.9% – Pretty light on the tongue for a tripel. Good sweetness and alcohol balance. Very drinkable.
  • Nibiru Yerba Mate Tripel – 7.6% – The first of the Elysian’s “12 Beers of the Apocalypse” promotion — a groovy new beer every month of 2012. This is a decent tripel, with good caramel and alcohol flavors, plus a slight spiciness on the tongue, which I assume is from the tea-like yerba mate. Quite nice, and not at all over the top as I expected. Only drawback is the $5.75 price for a schooner. Goes well with the Veggie BBQ sandwich, too.
  • Trip X – 7.2% – “’72 Eldorado.” Single wet hop collaboration with New Belgium. Eldorado hops, hence the clever name. Subtle but strong hop aroma. Solid citrusy hoppiness. Great malty base. A big, beautiful beer. Viva la wet hop!
  • Kama Citra Wet Hop Ale – 6.7% – Good strong hop aroma. It’s like a hop party in my mouth, and everyone’s invited! Wow. Awesome! Amazingly tangy and citrusy hoppiness. Flavor lasts and lasts.
  • The Wise ESB – 5.9% – Slightly darker than The Immortal. Nice and crisp, good hoppy bite, fine malty balance.
  • The Immortal IPA – 6.3% – Not as overpowering as some northwest IPAs but good. Fairly light on the tongue with good citrusy hops. Hoppiness lingers a nice long time.
  • Avatar Jasmine IPA – 6.3% – Pleasant jasmine aroma and flavor — a floral taste I actually like. Goes well with the IPA hoppiness — mellows it out a little.
  • Mens Room Red – 5.6% – Pretty much the same color as The Wise. Great balance of bubbly crispness, nutty maltiness, and bitterness — any more of one of the three would push it over the edge.
  • Dragonstooth Stout – 7.45% – I’ve liked this one a long time but haven’t had it in a while. Strong coffee and alcohol flavors, hint of chocolate. Good and thick on the tongue. Yum!
  • Loser Pale Ale – 6.5% – A subtle Wise, sort of. Good bitterness, not overpowering, but lingering. Good subtle malty base — not too strong. Slightly citrusy. Very drinkable, if you like a little bitterness.
    The Rest

  • Prometheus IPA – Somewhat citrusy aroma.  Citrus hoppiness and fairly strong malty caramel flavor gives it a full body.  Touch of breadiness.  Lingering bitterness that keeps building up was a bit too much for me, but otherwise a well-made beer.
  • Beaker – Experimental pale ale.  Pretty light in color.  Bready and light with a lingering bitterness and breadiness.  Hint of lemon.  Nice little beer, but not too interesting.
  • Peste Chocolate Chili Ale – Fourth beer of the apocalypse. Slight chocolate aroma. Dark chocolate taste quickly followed by spicy chili blast. Heat lingers a long time. Otherwise pretty smooth, somewhat heavy but not too much so. There were other beers I wanted to try, but the spicy heat finished me for the night. Might be interesting to cook with.
  • Fallout Green Cardamom Pale Ale – 7.75% – Third beer of the apocalypse. Fun sweet cardamom aroma. Nice cardamom flavor that mixes well with the hops. Maybe a bit too light on the tongue — almost, but not quite, watery. Really smooth, though, and good hop bite. Bit better as it warms up, alcohol edge starts to come through. But at $6.75 a pint, I won’t be ordering any more.
  • Bete Noel – 8.2% – Very sweet, with a bit of a Belgian edge, but just a little too sweet for me. Wouldn’t be able to drink a whole pint.
  • Idiot Sauvin IPA – 6.3% – Big hops! Pretty floral, with lots of bitterness. Good malty base. A little too floral for me, though.
  • Ursa Minor Berliner Weisse – 3% – Interesting. Tart, cider-like/lemonade flavor. Lemonade flavor lingers quite a while. Good summer beverage, I suppose.
  • Trip IX – 6.3% – “Down Under IPA.” Golden color. Strong citrus aroma. Very citrusy taste. Not particularly crisp. Not quite watery, but close. The citrus flavor reminded me of grapefruit, which I’m not a big fan of.
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