Silvio goes to Elysian Brewery

Today Melissa and I had a lovely day in Boston, including brunch and a tour of a chocolate factory. Tonight we’re watching some UFC with friends. Silvio has a great story to tell you today, so I’ll quickly turn it over to him. Silvio…

I mentioned in last week’s review I was lucky enough to take a private tour of Elysian Brewery, one of Seattle’s hippest brew pubs. The tour combined with a 12-beer tasting flight left me with way too much material to cram into my last post, but this week is all Elysian. In this post I’ll detail my tour, and in the next, review their beers.

Elysian actually has a three brew pub locations in Seattle, and I toured their Capitol Hill location. It’s a really cool set up, with the bar and two seating areas in the front when you walk in, another seating area behind the bar, and their brewing setup in the rear behind big windows for patrons to see the beer being made. Lots of cool artwork and banners adorn the walls, and it’s got a funky, cool vibe.

Our tour guide was Marcus Stinson, Elysian’s lead brewer. He is a really down to earth guy, who has been an Elysian brewer for 15 years. Marcus took lots of time out of his busy day (he had just finished brewing up a batch of Dragontooth Stout) and explained their entire process. I was pretty impressed by their setup, which not only produces beer for the brewery, but also for shipment across the region. As Marcus put it, “it’s big for a brew pub, but small for what we want to be.”

Elysian is in the process of building a 38,000 square foot plant in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, which I’m sure will help them take a big distribution step. Marcus walked us through Elysian’s brewing process, which is pretty similar to every other brewing process. What sets them apart “is all about the ingredients,” he said, noting “we have an incredible brewing system for a brew pub.”

A few tour highlights were getting to smell the inside of the brewing kettle immediately after the stout batch had come out (it was one of the best things I’ve ever smelled and TOTALLY made me want to drink it/bathe in it), hearing how they’ve maintained their taste with declining water quality (they used to change their filters three times a year, now they change them once a week), Marcus’ explanation of the term “gravity” (the physical weight of the beer), seeing the carbon dioxide bubble out of the beer while it’s fermenting, and coolest of all, their storage/keg room.

This huge walk-in cooler is in an area behind the brew room, and not only stores all the equipment for the entire brewpub and all the kegs for sale, but also several huge tanks which store all the beer for use in the pub. The beer travels from the back cooler room all the way to the bar through a series of tubes – so every beer on tap literally comes straight from the source.

Elysian is a great brew pub, and I can’t recommend it enough. The staff is friendly, love what they do, believe in good craft beer, and are really brewing some unique brews (which I’ll get to in my next post!). Sincere thanks to Marcus and Derek Nathan, Elysian’s General Manager, who set up the tour.

Any member of LIBA should not only stop by one of Elysian’s locations whenever possible, but also keep their eyes peeled for their product on the shelves. I know I will!

-Silvio

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