Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale: Weird, but Surprisingly Good.

I didn't know that Carrot Top lost his lower legs in a freak land mine accident?

Well, has he let himself go?…or not?  It is kind of hard to tell in some cases, like that of Carrot Top.  He has made a career out of being “off”.  Just slightly out of sync with the rest of society.  But let’s face it he is good at it.  Carrot Top is perhaps one of the most recognizable figures in America, next to Ronald McDonald.  And let’s face for all his foibles and oddities he is a pretty funny comedian.  He has his own show that runs at the Luxor Hotel in Vegas and has a list as long as your arm of various television appearances…oh, and did I mention he’s funny?  Whether you like prop humor or not, it is hard to watch part of his act without smiling and getting a chuckle if not solid belly laugh.

I was convinced of his abilities this last season on Last Comic Standing.  I watched a total of one episode of this show last year and the one I saw was where the comedians were turned loose in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond and told to come up with a prop humor skit in 90 minutes.  His off the cuff critique of the contestants was funnier than just about anything they came up with.  So Carrot Top is wierd, but he is surprisingly good at his craft…just like the beer I had last night…

This year I have done a little more experimenting with Pumpkin brews than last.  So far this year I’ve had 3 to last year’s 1.  Not exactly jumping in with both feet, but I do have an Autumn Maple for Thanksgiving Dinner.  I had heard really good things about the Elysian Pumpkin Ale.  It is pretty available out here, as it is brewed in Seattle, Washington so I gave it a try.

As you can see it poured a hazy brown orange color with about a one finger tan head that litterally dissipated as I turned around to put the can opener away.  Didn’t stick around at all.  The label says this is a pumpkin brew made with 7 pounds of pumpkin per batch, pumpkin seeds, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, and it sits at 5.9% ABV.  Sounds just like a pumpkin pie with seeds and alcohol added.  And it was those seeds that made all the difference in my opinion.

The nose is spicy, with pumpkin, and a tinge of a acrid odor that I couldn’t really place until I took a taste.  It was the seeds!  This brew takes the best of a pumpkin pie type brew and adds in the roasted flavor of the pumpkin seeds!  It was wonderful.  Not too sweet, slightly bitter, spicy and fully in the spirit of the season.  I hesitate to say this is the best pumpkin brew I’ve had, as I have tended to like each one I’ve tried better than the last, but this was very good.

It did have a kind of weird flavor with the addition of the pumpkin seeds, but it all seemed to work together surprisingly well.  If you can find this brew, try it.  I think you will be surprised too.

-Don

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19 Comments on “Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale: Weird, but Surprisingly Good.”

  1. November 9, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    I’m glad you liked the beer, but that Carrot Top pic is gonna scare folks away, Don! That dude creeps me out. Probably because he’s a creep.

    And shirtless? Really?

    • Don
      November 9, 2010 at 11:05 am #

      Jim, the whole point of my post is it is possible to be a little weird and still be good too. I think you need to open your mind little bro and embrace the carrot. That is all.

      • November 9, 2010 at 11:16 am #

        I’m not “embracing” that sweaty, hairless freak!

        I get your analogy, but I find it unsettling, mostly because of your picture choice!

        • Don
          November 9, 2010 at 11:21 am #

          Hairless? His hair is what he’s known for? I think your general discomfort must have something to do with feelings you get by looking at the picture. ;)

      • November 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

        Jim’s right. I almost didn’t click on it this morning cause I knew I couldn’t deal with a bigger version of that picture. But the review is great – I gonna see if Wegman’s haz zat.

        • Don
          November 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

          It’s really good beer. I knew the pic was a little out there, but I didn’t expect the outpouring of disgust I’ve received about it!

    • November 9, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

      I believe the lesson to be learned here is that Carrot Top is a Detroit Tigers fan. Because when you look at that photo and your eye instantly darts in every possible direction that doesn’t involve a half naked Carrot Top, the Tigers jersey is the first thing you see.

      I never quite know how to feel about the pumpkin brews. Right now in my neck of the woods, the O’Fallon and the Schlafly Pumpkin Ales have been making the rounds and they’re both very solid/good beers, with a slight nod going to the Schlafly. But in general, I think one or two pumpkin beers per year is more than enough to suit me.

      • Don
        November 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

        I’d agree John. Is a matter of fact on the Reddit thread for this post there was a commenter that spoke about all the pumpkin brews Elysian make…like 10 of em! He also noted that they have an annual pumpkin beer festival in Seattle. I’d be like get me outta here after 2 beers!

  2. November 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    I quite like the Night Owl, too. It’s certainly not a Pumking. But it’s likeable in such different ways. One is the roasted nuttiness you allude to. I picked up a weird flavor, too. Came to the conclusion it was like rind. But like you said, it works. And unlike the Pumking, I could drink more than one glass of the Night Owl. It’s not nearly as rich and cloying. Wouldn’t say it’s sessionable. But I did find myself wanting a second glass.

    Elysian also brews The Great Pumpkin. It’s an imperial version of the Night Owl. Ungettable here, I think. But I had it a month or so ago. Everything about the Night Owl is amped up a little in The Great Pumpkin (except the rind), especially the roasted pumpkin seeds. It may have been the best pumpkin beer I’ve had to date.

    Having said that, I still have the Bruery Autumn Maple and Midnight Sun TREAT Chocolate Pumpkin Porter to try this season.

    • Don
      November 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

      I too have an Autumn Maple waiting in the bunker for Thanksgiving. If it isn’t everything my Brother has cracked it up to be, there will be heck to pay and I will have turkey and egg on my face. The Great Pumpkin sounds wonderful, as anything with an “Imperial” in front of the name seems to make me like it better!

  3. Evan
    November 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Definitely my favorite pumpkin ale. However; it’s actually a New Belgium brewed beer sold with an Elysian label.

    • Don
      November 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

      Don’t ruin it for me Evan! I was wondering why the label said Seattle WA and Boulder CO on it. Now I know. I’m gonna pretend it is brewed by hobbits in a tree. That way I don’t have to suspend my dislike of everything New Belgium.

      • Evan
        November 9, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

        Haha, fair enough. I do believe the Pumpking is brewed by Elysian, but I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t had the Pumpking yet… But Elysian usually always lets me down.

        • Don
          November 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

          You mean the Great Pumpkin? Pumpking is Southern Tier’s autumnal beer. Its good too, but quite sweet. I believe the Great Pumpkin is Elysian’s Imperial pumpkin ale, just a little more of everything. I’ve heard its quite good too.

      • Evan
        November 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

        I mean to say “Great Pumpkin” not Pumpking

  4. Travis
    November 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Wasted your time! The Elysians Great Pumpkin is better and their Dark ‘o the Moon (pumpkin stout) took silver at GABF. They’re only in season for a few weeks.

    • Don
      November 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

      Well Travis, when one can only get Night Owl, one drinks said beer! Hopefully that Dark o’the Moon will make it out my way some time. I’ve never had a dark pumpkin beer, or a sour one for that matter.

      • Mike
        November 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

        Dark o’ the Moon may be my favorite pumpkin beer. The pumpkin kinda lingers in the background – think of stout/pumpkin beer black and tan.

        • Don
          November 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

          That sounds pretty good. Hopefully they will send some Idaho’s way next year. You beer geeks in Washington horde all the good stuff for yourselves! ;)

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