Monday, October 8, 2012

City Tap House Pumpkin Smash

Yesterday, City Tap House held an event called Pumpkin Smash. The main emphasis was obviously on pumpkin beers with the stars coming from Elysian, a brewery in Seattle. They sent over 7 different pumpkin beers, possibly the most of their pumpkin beers available at once outside of their own brewery and their own yearly pumpkin event. Pretty cool, ya know? Well, as long as you like pumpkin beers, I guess. I've only had one pumpkin this year, too, so it seemed like a good time to drink a few.

I started with a glass of the Elysian Night Owl. Not sure if it was from the pumpkin firkin or not unfortunately. And, yes, they turned an actual pumpkin into a firkin. It was pretty neat.
I forgot to mention, they were selling some sweet Halloween glasses that you can see in the picture above. I was actually given mine, but they were available for a while to the public too. Night Owl itself was fine. Cinnamon, allspice, clove with a weakish beer in the back. Body followed with light flavor taken over by cinnamon and allspice and nutmeg. Basically, this was an example of a normal pumpkin beer with no surprises. Not the best, but fine.

After that I changed the pace and went with The Gourdfather, a pumpkin barleywine. Yes, a barleywine. Never seen one of these before.
Floral nose, hints of brown sugar. Smooth mouthfeel. Started with caramel, brown sugar and a light squash flavor and finished similarly. The abv was listed as ?% so I don't know how strong it actually ended up being, but there was only a slight alcohol bite in the finish and even that didn't last very long. As I drank more, the caramel also built really well on itself, making this quite enjoyable. Since there weren't any spices, the pumpkin probably caused the caramel and brown sugar flavors to be stronger.

One of the main reasons I was excited for this event was that I'd finally get a chance to try Elysian's Dark O' the Moon pumpkin stout. I've had one or two others in that style and really enjoyed them and was looking forward to to trying this one.
Roast, cinnamon and some pumpkin. Thinnish body, but nice flavor in it. Roast with cinnamon and a little pumpkin in the finish. I liked how the roast blended with everything else to keep the spices from being too strong but also allowed a few of them to shine through. Enjoyable.

Moving off the beers for a few, I don't know what the crowd is usually like on Sundays at City Tap House, but it was jam packed yesterday. I'm betting the Eagles game being at 1pm probably caused some of that on top of the event. I mean, this isn't the greatest view but here's a small example of the crowd.
Now, take that portion of the crowd and spread it the whole way around the bar. The fact that it was cold and rainy meant the outside was closed too. Even with the Eagles game, though, the Pumpkin Smash event seemed popular in its own right as all of the special glasses were apparently sold out by like 2pm (it started at 1). There were quite a few glasses left, too, so a decent number of people must have reserved them.
This is the corner where the glasses were kept. Both ladies kept things moving smoothly and did a great job keeping track of everything.

And back to drinking. I had two more beers after the Dark O' the Moon with the first being Apocalypse Blight from a firkin. Not sure if there was anything special about the firkin compared to the draft version, though. Definitely had the best beer name of the day in my opinion. Blight was made with Oregon pumpkins, Vietnamese cinnamon, and brown sugar.
Cinnamon nose with some sugary sweetness. The cinnamon was nice and not too strong, too, and the latter was definitely from the brown sugar. Thicker than expected, probably because of the extra sugar from the brown sugar. Body followed similarly with a caramel note up front, hints of cinnamon, and a light pumpkin finish. This one was definitely better than Night Owl as the base beer was much more pronounced. Maybe it was just the extra body gained from the brown sugar that made it better, but regardless this was a nice treat.

And, finally, the last one I tried was a collaboration between Ninkasi and Elysian, the Hopsquatch IPA, another style you don't normally find made with pumpkins.
Citrusy hoppy nose. Basically what you'd expect from an IPA. Started with a lot of bitterness, followed by a little caramel sweetness and then a bitter finish with some orange citrus. A little pumpkin in the body shined through but all in all it was a pretty good IPA regardless. It's an interesting change to make it with pumpkin though without being able to totally tell it was used in the brewing process, it's hard to say if there is a point.

Phew, that's a lot of pumpkin and writing. This was another really well run event by the City Tap House. I don't know if they expected such a large crowd as two of their three pumpkin entrees for brunch had sold out by 1pm or so, but they handled the crowd easily otherwise. Beers were never slow, the food was quite good, and our waitress was great. The beers Elysian brought were really interesting and quite diverse with all of them expressing a different way of using pumpkin. Considering there were like 20-30 other pumpkin beers from other breweries too this was quite the crazy day. Great day and I hope they do it again next year.

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