Photo Subject and Cred: Ian Steele
It’s that time of year. The pumpkin-spiced jokes have long since worn out their welcome, yet for one to two months every year, they rear their ugly heads for us to collectively roll our eyes at. Same goes for candy corn. Personally, I think it’s great and always have, but does candy corn even exist in the off season? I liken it to a cyclical glitch in the matrix, but I digress.
September marks the beginning of Oktoberfest season (not the actual festival) in the same way that Halloween marks the start of the holiday season, skipping Thanksgiving entirely, the most gluttonous and satisfying holiday, and cutting straight to the collection of revered holidays around the winter equinox. The beer industry’s entry into this month generally marks the rapid release of pumpkin beers, marzens, Oktoberfest-style ales and lagers, and more that you would see around this time.
Elysian Brewing of Seattle, WA, is rolling out their seasonal Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, which they tout as their original pumpkin ale (they have more than one). This beer is fairly straightforward for the style- it is an ale brewed with pumpkin puree and juice, roasted and raw pumpkin seeds added to the mash, and spiced in conditioning with a host of the standards. Straightforward may have been underselling… this beer is pumpkin from top to bottom, with a 6.7% ABV and low 18 IBU. This beer is more readily available than their other pumpkin beer, the Punkuccino.
Punkuccino is listed on the Elysian website as a “…[coffee] pumpkin ale with the attitude of a world-weary barista”. The beer features Stumptown coffee toddy as well as spices. It is a little more exclusive, being that it is only available on draft and in 22oz bombers. The beer is medium-bodied featuring German Northern Brewer hops, and a modest 6% ABV.
Let’s brace for the overdone pumpkin jokes, but embrace the coming stout/porter/dark beer season. Rich beers all around!