Opened in 1997 and one-half mile up the hill from Six Arms on Pike Street, renowned ELYSIAN BREWING COMPANY (with two more Seattle locations known as Tangle Town and Elysian Fields) truly sets the bar for all Northwest brewpubs.
Visited December ’09, Elysian’s gray-maroon building, a former warehouse, sits on the corner of 13th Avenue and features wraparound windows, old concrete floors, exposed ducts, high ceilings, and rear brew tanks. High profile pub not only has great beers served from left side bar, but also a solid menu of soup-salad-sandwiches, Shepherd’s Pie, and pork chile verde.
I had sweet and sour pork soup with astringent grassy-hopped wood-lacquered maize-dried phenol-spiced yellow-fruited Zephyrus Pilsner and perfumed citric-splashed floral-spiced honey-grazed dry-bodied The Wise Extra Special Bitter. Fell in love with pumpkin-spiced crystal-malted cologne-wafted Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, with its busy molasses-malted cinnamon-powdered chamomile-backed ginger-coriander-nutmeg spicing.
Those were fine starters bettered by The Trip IV Juniper Ale, a primitive rye-dried Finnish sahti made in conjunction with New Belgium Brewery. Its honey-roasted apple-pear tang saddled watermelon-mango-papaya-pineapple tropicalia and teensy eucalyptus daub.
But the fun didn’t stop there this early autumn afternoon. Dry hop-roasted, black coffee-soured, chocolate-cocoa-molasses-sweetened Dragon’s Tooth Stout outdid stylistically similar coffee bean-roasted, fig-soured, hazelnut-seared, barley-flaked Daedalus Irish Stout.
Uncanny stylistic departure, Avatar Jasmine IPA placed jasmine-lilac floridity above white-green grape, sweet nectar, lemongrass, and pumpernickel. BiFrost Winter Ale doused buttery candi-sugared cinnamon apple spice across honeyed pecan, lemon custard, and vanilla illusions.