On Saturday, October 8, 2016, my friend Tiffany and I braved the pouring Pacific Northwest rain to attend Elysian Brewery’s 12th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, The skies may have been showering the thousands of festival-goers, but with beers in hand and costumes on point, it seemed that everyone was having a great time. Tiffany and I didn’t want to leave!
Tiffany and I had a chance to hit the CenturyLink Field North Lot before the crowd arrived and we spoke to Leann Krainick of Krainick Dairy in Enumclaw. Leann’s dairy raises the cows that make Scarecrow’s Pride organic cow manure. Joel Holland, winner of the 2016 Elysian Great Pumpkin Weigh Off, has used Scarecrow’s Pride in his patch since 2013 and grew a 1,713 pound pumpkin, the third largest pumpkin ever grown in Washington. That pumpkin along with other gigantic ones were also featured at the festival, including the beer filled pumpkin!!! Tiffany and I unfortunately did not stay long enough to watch the beer pumpkin get tapped!
It was finally time for the gates to open and the Chaotic Noise Marching Corps led the procession of festival-goers in a parade to the center of the North Lot. It was incredibly entertaining to watch them perform. The crowd gathered around them (in the pouring rain, remind you!) and cheered them on. Everything about them was fantastic and just added to the fun of the afternoon.
Tiffany and I used our beer tickets to start sampling some of the brews at the multiple beer stations throughout the lot.
Tiffany tried sQUASH from Lowercase Brewing out of Seattle and I tried Autumn Maple from The Bruery out of Placentia, CA. sQUASH is a brown ale with 5.1% ABV that pairs fresh squash flavors with whole spices, toasted malts and Mt. Hood hops. Autumn Maple is a Belgian-style Brown with 10% ABV and is brewed with 17 lbs of yams per barrel and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup, then fermented with a traditional Belgian yeast strain.
I then tried Pumking from Southern Tier out of Lakewood, NY and Tiffany tried Dark O’the Moon from Elysian. Pumking is an Imperial Ale with 8.6% ABV with a pumpkin, pie spices, buttery crust, vanilla, and roasted pecans nose and a malty sweetness, vanilla, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pie crust flavor. Dark O’ the Moon is a pumpkin stout with 7.6% ABV and has a smooth chocolate finish with a touch of cinnamon.
I tried Pumpkinator from Saint Arnold out of Houston, TX and Tiffany tried Pumpkin Spiced Blonde from Harmon Brewing out of Tacoma. Pumpkinator is an Imperial Stout with 11% ABV and is made with Cascade and Liberty hops along with pumpkin, molasses, brown sugar and spices. Pumpkin Spiced Blonde is the Mt. Takhoma Blonde with 4.4% ABV, made with a German Pilsner malt and a touch of White Wheat and Fuggle hops. This particular sample is blended with pumpkin and spice for the festival.
Tiffany then tried Pumpkin Pear Cider from NV Cider out of Wenatchee and I tried Pumpkin Bier from pFriem out of Hood River, OR. The Pumpkin Pear Cider is 5.3% ABV and is a seasonal blend of pumpkin and crisp dry perry. The Pumpkin Bier is 6.9% ABV and is made with fresh organic pumpkin puree with aromas of vanilla, notes of cinnamon and a touch of caramel.
Our final samples were Basic Pumpkin Spice Latte from Payette Brewing out of Boise, ID and Dry Smoked Pumpkin Cider from Tieton Cider Works out of Yakima. Basic Pumpkin Spice Latte is a coffee pumpkin ale with 5.5% ABV and made with a medley of fall spices, Dawson Taylor cold-pressed coffee, lactose sugar and cinnamon. Dry Smoked Pumpkin Cider is a cider with 6% ABV and is smoked over the same wood used to grow the apples.
Tiffany and I very much look forward to next year’s 13th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival. We had a wonderful time watching the festive crowd, listening to the Chaotic Noise Marching Corps and sampling some delicious pumpkin brews! Fall is truly the best time of year!