Tag Archives: elysium

52 Weeks 47: Elysian Pumpkin Ale

That’s right, pumpkin ale. 

I suppose it ought to be said right now; I think pumpkin beers are not for serious beer drinkers. Or even not-serious beer drinkers. 

Pumpkin ales are for people who think of beer as a novelty, a plaything that they can get their friends to try; check out this beer made from X! Where X equals some weird plant, like garlic or zucchini. It just so happens that pumpkins are associated with a very tasty food and we happen to have a fuckton of them around during this time of year, so why not do something with them, right? 

So for you dear readers, I have decided to have a pumpkin ale. 

The nose is quite strong and puts me into the Wayback Machine for sure. Nutmeg scents remind me of my mother’s kitchen; its olive green stove right next to the fridge in a classic design scheme, lights dimmed while everyone else is in the living room or dining room, entertaining while I wait for pie to finish. 

And the taste?

Well…I won’t lie to you, it’s quite a bit like liquid pumpkin pie. There aren’t hops or malts to speak of here; it’s all dessert spices and enough sweetness to keep the whole thing together. I’m almost surprised the beer isn’t served in a glass made of flaky crust. It’s remarkably velvety too, like well beaten whipped cream. 

I hate to say it, but it’s a decent beer to have a glass of and it evokes pumpkin pie in some remarkable ways. That said; I’m glad it’s only around once a year. I cannot imagine drinking this stuff on a regular basis. 

273 words. Is there more to say a this point? I feel like there ought to be but perhaps this is not the night for it? It’s windy in Portland, a mild summer giving way quickly to an autumn that is bluster and chilly. The inclination is to grouse; the football games sucked yesterday, I’m going mildly broke and there’s a coil of tension in my chest somewhere behind my heart, that keeps reminding me that somewhere I have chosen poorly all of which wants to be said somewhere. 

But not here, eh? Because I didn’t choose poorly; the beer was good, I’ve got my hat and the night. No complaints.

My weekend at PAX (guest blogger)

We met, the owner and I, at the Tap House Grill in downtown Seattle on the advice from Bill, who’d been there recently.  The food was decent enough, but the first thing I ordered was a seasonal sampler. And I got, among other tastes, Terminal Gravity.

Terminal Gravity is not a beer produced seasonally and all of my selections were like this. The beers weren’t bad but they didn’t feel very representational, especially considering the possible options! So instead here’s a photo of me with a headband.

(The company, however, was excellent and that’s always a good way to start off your trip.)

For dinner, the owner and I went to the Elysium pub. I’m told he always tried to make it there when he goes to Seattle as they have excellent beer that cannot be found in Portland.

We started off with the Bête Noel which looked like a cloudy amber. In addition to malts turbinado sugar was added and I found it to be oddly sweet-but it all made sense when I read it was brewed with Belgian golden ale yeast. Not cloying but I think the dark malts are keeping it in check.

I really liked the Bye Bye Frost; it was malty and hot, but I was surprised by the bitter finish. The description said it was dry hopped wit Amarillo but I couldn’t detect it in the nose at all. The drawback is that the Bye Bye does not play nice with food. Much to overpowering for the sandwich the owner was eating.

Finally we had the Reunion 09; a damn fine wheat beer. Coriander all over the nose but it’s gently tart finish played as an addition to dinner. The Reunion smelled like something old, faraway. The hat you found in the back of the closet at 10. Maybe this is the appeal of wheat beers. They take us back to the camaraderie of long working days (not that there are short ones) and an honest beer among friends.

Kratos part of the floating imagery behind the bar. Videogames have seeped into everything.
Tomorrow the cyclops maybe?
Yow the bye bye frost is malty and hot. Sackboy likes this one. I’m surprised by the bitter finish. Says it’s dry hopped w Amarillo but I can’t detect it. Does not play nice with food.
Reunion 09 is a damn fine wheat beer. Coriander is all over the nose. A fine addition to my dinner. Smells like something old, faraway. The hat I found in the closet at 10. Maybe this is the appeal of wheat beers. They take us back to the camaraderie of long days and an honest beer amongnfriends. Slightly tart finish, but not in a vile way.Noel at Elysium. Cloudy amber? At least visually. In addition to malts turbinado sugar added. It’s oddly sweet-but it all makes sense when I see it was brewed with Belgian golden ale yeast. Not cloying but I think the darkmalts are keeping it in check. Pic
Kratos part of the floating imagery behind the bar. Videogames have seeped into everything.
Tomorrow the cyclops maybe?
Yow the bye bye frost is malty and hot. Sackboy likes this one. I’m surprised by the bitter finish. Says it’s dry hopped w Amarillo but I can’t detect it. Does not play nice with food.
Reunion 09 is a damn fine wheat beer. Coriander is all over the nose. A fine addition to my dinner. Smells like something old, faraway. The hat I found in the closet at 10. Maybe this is the appeal of wheat beers. They take us back to the camaraderie of long days and an honest beer amongnfriends. Slightly tart finish, but not in a vile way.Bête Noel at Elysium. Cloudy amber? At least visually. In addition to malts turbinado sugar added. It’s oddly sweet-but it all makes sense when I see it was brewed with Belgian golden ale yeast. Not cloying but I think the darkmalts are keeping it in check. Pic
Kratos part of the floating imagery behind the bar. Videogames have seeped into everything.
Tomorrow the cyclops maybe?
Yow the bye bye frost is malty and hot. Sackboy likes this one. I’m surprised by the bitter finish. Says it’s dry hopped w Amarillo but I can’t detect it. Does not play nice with food.
Reunion 09 is a damn fine wheat beer. Coriander is all over the nose. A fine addition to my dinner. Smells like something old, faraway. The hat I found in the closet at 10. Maybe this is the appeal of wheat beers. They take us back to the camaraderie of long days and an honest beer amongnfriends. Slightly tart finish, but not in a vile way.

Walkin’ down an empty road, no one left behind

I’m having to listen to a lot of ‘classic rock’ lately. This is temping; you go into someone else’s space and cannot make it your own. You endure the chairs set to someone else’s height, the jokes that go over your head, the subtle -but not cruel- shunning of the temp, who will be gone soon, the influence those who have jobs there exert over a workspace that is never really yours. So I listen to a lot of classic rock, because that’s what everyone else listens to. My shoulders hurt and I am being put into a time warp, where I am listening to music that lost all meaning for me twenty years ago.

Roughly the time Sub Pop was born. And a sonic revolution hit popular music.

Of course, I don’t know that the Melvins, Tad, Mudhoney, Soundgarden or Nirvana would say they were part of a revolution. Just look at the label of this beer; a perfect shot of Mudhoney rocking like hell, but in the same moment mocking the excessive bullshit and rampant vapidity of the time caught by Charles Peterson. Any member of those bands would probably point out that they were just doing what they loved, that the Afghan Whigs, Seaweed, the Posies and the Reverend Horton Heat were just as important to the scene. Lesser known labels and bands I couldn’t dig out of my skull if I tried would be praised for their contributions.  They just did what they loved.

I wasn’t a brewer then. I wasn’t even a drinker then. But I remember: people drank PBR, Oly and Schlitz (Zeke even did a song about it) because they were broke, at the show hoping for the best and getting to witness the comet in the sky, whether they understood it or not. How the hell can this beer match up to those times? Does anyone really want to drink a beer that reminds them of the terrible stuff they drank twenty years ago, smoke in their noses, ears ringing from feedback?

Maybe…if they’re drinking to forget. Of the bands around then, most of them have broken up. Some of the reasons are obvious, some not so-I still have no idea why Soundgarden called it quits. But I don’t drink to remember either. As I’ve noted before; we eat and drink in the now-just like we see music live: they play and when the lights come up, you go home, show’s over.

Sub Pop records still exists, of course. Band of Horses, Wolf Parade, Iron & Wine all bring great songs to us via SP even if the sound they brought to the attention of the world is ‘dead’. But like a great beer, it could only last for a little while. The now becomes a then, with a new band taking the stage, a fresh drink gotten between sets.

Loser is an exceptionally tasty pale, that reminds me a little of Ninkasi’s Spring Reign. A little more restrained on the back end bitterness than Ninkasi’s beer, but similar with it’s hoppy nose and an acute bitter in the middle that vanishes like the note of an amp ends when the power is cut and the show is over. It’s a tribute and a damn fine one at that. 

I hoist this beer in tribute to…well, everyone who made and loved the music. This beer may not be a revolution, but it does right by the people who helped bring a some great art to a kid who needed it, twenty years go. Cheers.

And much thanks to Fuz, for getting me a couple bottles to sample.  It’s good to have friends.