I’m almost back to being myself. 4 days in the hospital made for an interesting week. Tomorrow I’ll tell the full story of what went down and where I’m at now. For today, Silvio is finishing up his review of Elysian Brewery. Silvio…
Last week I mentioned in the brewery review that Elysian is making some really unique beers, and they were all on display with the 12-beer tasting flight my friend Will and I enjoyed. He’s a great cook and has even been a food journalist at one point, so his refined palate really added a whole new level to my reviewing.
We tried almost all of the beers on Elysian’s menu, and of the twelve beers, I either liked or loved all but one brew. That’s a pretty sick success rate for any brewery, in my opinion. Hands down, three beers stood out –the Avatar Jasmine IPA, Idiot Saison, and Loser Pale Ale. All were amazing and completely innovative/unique.
The Avatar Jasmine IPA is one of the five best beers I’ve ever had – there, I said it. LIBA readers know I’m a serious hop head, and this delivers a solid stanky and sweet hop backbone without any hints of bitterness. But this beer is brewed with Jasmine flowers, and that’s what puts it over the edge. Elysian steeps dried jasmine flowers into the beer during the boiling process. The jasmine flavor is strong throughout the taste, and peaks in the middle like a cup of tea, with a combined sweet hoppy aftertaste. The 6.3% ABV means you can enjoy a few in one sitting, too.
The Idiot Saison is a delicious, albeit unintentional, mix of spicy saison and hops. It’s a strange blend, for sure, but works really well and has an interesting story. Apparently Elysian was brewing a standard saison, when one brewer added hops by accident – hence the “idiot.” They thought it was ruined, but it turned out to be quite drinkable. It’s a dark honey color and smells like a spicy witte beer with some hops in the background. It’s seriously delicious, starting with heavy spices (coriander and cumin) which fade through the middle to end with serious hops. It’s not bitter, though, a result of the Washington pale malts used in the brewing process, and has a manageable 6.35% ABV.
Finally, the Loser Pale Ale really impressed me with its combination of hops and fruit flavors. It’s a tribute to the Sub Pop record company’s 20th anniversary, and is a beautiful clear light honey color. It starts out with some light tropical fruit flavors on the front, picks up some herbal tones through the middle (we thought sage or rosemary), and ends with a stanky bitter hops end note. The ABV is a bit stronger at 7%, but it’s manageable.
While these three were my favorites, almost every other beer stood out. Two stouts were very delicious, even though I’m not a big stout fan. The Dragontooth, which I got to smell while it was being brewed on my tour, has a ton of coffee and chocolate flavor, warm and smooth with a surprising 7.4% ABV. The Perseus is a cool blend of chocolate and coffee, but with a big background – kind of like coffee roasted a bit too long, but it works well and has an easy 5.4% ABV.
Elysian also does ales well. The Bete Blanche is a Belgian -style tripel, with hints of spice but nothing too crazy. I got a cinnamon kick with banana and clove flavors toward the end and a 6.9% ABV. The Golden Boot Ale is brewed in honor of Seattle Soccer, and is a cloudy pilsner with a wheaty background, lots of cider notes through the middle, and a hops kick at the end. It’s got a 5% ABV and reminded us of a snake bite (beer and cider mix). The Immortal IPA had lots of hops listed in the ingredients, a 6.3% ABV, and pretty much is the essence of an IPA – total hops all the way through. It’s got a long bitter end note though, and is not to be trifled with unless you’re really into hops.
I also enjoyed the Slight Return, a gentle take on IPAs with a mellow hoppy and passion fruit mix and a tame 3.1% ABV; the Wise ESB, a malty and hoppy British ale with toasted caramel malts and a hoppy bitter end combined with a 5.9% ABV; and the Zephyrus Pilsner, which is a light crisp German-style pilsner featuring a perfumey middle and sweet end note with a 5.9% ABV.
The only brew I didn’t enjoy was the Men’s Room Red, which is named for a local radio program. It had a pretty red hue, but was a bit too dry and didn’t have any real flavor to speak of. Regardless, the heavy balance of brews here is ridiculously good, and the biggest problem I had with Elysian is figuring out which beer to drink! We also enjoyed a plate of spicy black bean cakes over a Jicama and mixed green bed during our tasting.
I gave Elysian the highest possible recommendation in my last post, and it bears repeating. This is a cool brewery making innovative, unique beer. Their staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and really enjoy making good beer.