You hear a lot of talk on the interweb and in the press about different brewers, right? One of the ones I keep seeing stuff about is ELYSIAN BREWING out of Seattle. Northwesterners seems to really dig these folks, and I know they’ve been successful enough within Seattle to have not one but three brewpubs there, including one that’s essentially part of the new baseball ballpark there. THE BEER RETARD says good things about them. NORTHWEST BREWING NEWS always talks about ‘em. And lo and behold, we got an email at our headquarters the other day announcing that ELYSIAN are going to start distribution within Northern California in October, and would we like to come to THE TORONADO in San Francisco to try some of them out, a month in advance? Why yes we would. Or would we? Please read on.
Arrived at the Toronado this past Wednesday thirsty and ready for action. Given the slide we’re experience into “autumn”, as they call it on the east coast, I decided to get with the program, and ordered up a $3 (!!) pint of the ELYSIAN NIGHT OWL PUMPKIN ALE, I have no problem with pumpkin ales – I feel like the I’m the only one who’s willing to fly the flag for BUFFALO BILL’S PUMPKIN ALE every year. Anyway, this beer was a – I’m sorry to say – “pour-out”, or given the location, a “give back”. I couldn’t stand it. Exceptionally weak-bodied, thin, no sweetness at all, just some chalky malts and an overall blandness that I couldn’t handle. There I am, surrounded by all these great beers on tap, and you want me to drink this? No way. 3/10. OK, so that was an anomaly, right? A seasonal misfire? I wish. I ordered their ELYSIAN BETE BLANCHE TRIPEL, hoping they were better at Belgians than they were pumpkins, and while it was a “step up” to a 4.5/10, this was still a pretty rank beer. Some lingering, tingling spices and yeasts were in the mix somewhere, but they were so muted this may well have been homebrew or something out of a bag. I was bummed. It’s the first time I’ve had a tripel this boring. Usually they’re too overall aggressive when they’re not blowing me away with how great they are. I can’t help but think that Elysian is suffering this blandness problem up and down the lineup, for when I asked a friend who was trying their IMMORTAL IPA what he thought about it, he gave me that sound one makes when they’re trying to be magnanimous: “ehhhhhnh?”. Man, I was hoping for something rocking out of grunge city, but ELYSIAN ain’t it so far.