Beer in Seattle: Elysian Brewing Company

To many, the Pacific Northwest is the Bordeaux region of American brewing. A good chunk of the microbrewery movement got its start in the top left corner of the country and most American hops are grown there. After a whirlwind weekend in Seattle, I’m pleased to report that the beer is as good as you’d expect, despite the city’s mawkish obsession with espresso-based coffee drinks.

The problem with spending such a short time in as interesting a place as the Emerald City is you’re quickly overwhelmed with things to do. the other issue is that, although home to a ton of breweries, the place is really spread out. Thus I was limited to the physical premises of Elysian Brewing Company and Pyramid Brewing, although I tried beer from many others over the course of the weekend.

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Elysian Brewing’s tap room

Elysian takes up an avenue corner in the trendy/seedy Capital Hill district, a roomy glass-fronted box perched at the halfway point of a steep incline. The place might have been an old car dealership, or something. Judging from the beer names, the owners enjoy their Athenian history.

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My buddy Brian neck-deep in Elysian’s “The Immortal” IPA

IPA is the beer to order at Elysian. “The Immortal” is excellent, with a tantalizing citrus bite that makes you wonder if, like salmon from Puget Sound, the hops weren’t harvested from that day. I mean, obviously they weren’t; there wouldn’t be time to brew and ferment the beer, but there’s a freshness to Elysian’s draft Immortal that I hadn’t encountered before.

The preciously-named Perseus Porter stands out as well. There’s a dry, bready quality to the finish that I vastly prefer to the more common cloying sweet aftertaste of porter. There’s caramel and mocha in the aroma, ahd a hint of that in the flavor, but they accentuate the dry, roasted character of the beer instead of dominating it. The Perseus is capped off by a back-of-tongue bitterness that brings the beer into balance; This is the product of a skillful brewer.

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Most of the other beers rocked as well. Nancy was on the Hefeweizen like Persephone on a pomegranate. “The Wise” ESB held its own, as well. The Zephyrus Pilsner disappointed, though, with a noticeable diacetyl flavor and a surprising lack of bitterness in the finish, considering they got the bitter flavor so right in the IPA.

Anyway, an hour at Elysian, and we were off to 70,000-seat Qwest Field to slurp Red Hook ESB and join 3,999 fellow soccer junkies as the Seattle Sounders defeated the Charleston Battery. Then, off to the nearby Pyramid Brewing company- a place which will be discussed at length in tomorrow’s post.

-Mark

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2 thoughts on “Beer in Seattle: Elysian Brewing Company

  1. I spent a week in Seattle once. I was near the University of Washington. I was delighted to find three brewpubs within walking distance of my hotel. I can’t remember the names, but it was fun to sample a large variety of hand crafted beers. But, even the “normal” bars seemed to carry an extensive and varied selection of excellent beers from local craft breweries. I was in heaven. Not to mention it was 80 F and sunny all week. Not bad for Seattle.

  2. Yeah, the microbrew selection is great. I also found a fantastic Belgian place called “De Browerij” which had a pricey but unrivalled selcetion of uncommon bottled Belgian beers.

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