10/14/19: Elysian Brewing Company's Night Owl

1:47 PM

This is a beer I've had before. In fact, this is a yearly purchase for me. Because of the brewery producing it, as well as the company that owns it, it's pretty damn easy to find. Given this (I know that not every brew I'm touching upon this month is readily available to each of you, dear readers), I thought it prudent to devote a post to it.


So, here we go: Elysian's Night Owl.

You know, I only talked about Elysian two posts ago. So, instead of reinventing the wheel or needlessly driving traffic to that post to inflate its views, I'll just copy what I wrote of the brewery here:

"Elysian's "About" page can be found here. Established in 1996, the Seattle, WA brewery quickly partnered with Sega, Universal Studios, and Dreamworks to operate a brewery in the Gameworks venture. After that contract expired in 2002 Elysian opened a few new places, including a 35,000 square foot production facility circa 2011. They sold out to InBev in 2016, which is why they suddenly appeared on shelves nation-wide around that time."

Night Owl (here's its official write-up from Elysian) is a 6.7% ABV pumpkin ale. It's brewed with pumpkin pureé, pumpkin juice, pumpkin, and pumpkin seeds (both roasted and raw). The ale's then conditioned with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

The beer's nose gives me a little pumpkin--what's here doesn't smell fresh--but the spices take center stage. The cinnamon and nutmeg are both big here, and a second waft gives some definite ginger. Purrl, for the second time (!), seems to like an ale's aroma more than I do; she gave my bottle eight whiffs.


For as important pumpkin is in the brewing of the ale, I can't say I'm finding much of it in the flavor. Sure, it's there ever so slightly in the finish (which, for as sweet as the beer is, is long and dry). But, again, the spices reign supreme here. It's almost like eating a spoonful of pumpkin spice. Almost. The earthiness of the gourd, no matter how subdued it may be, does serve to temper the spice from being too much.

The mouthfeel is pretty darn creamy for your standard ale. Maybe that an outcome of all the pumpkin? Really, I don't know enough to say. But, I can tell you that this creaminess is working in Night Owl's favor.

This ale'll always remind me of my first Halloween in Cincinnati. I moved here without any job prospects and, although it didn't take me long to stumble into what would eventually become my career, I initially paid my rent by working at one of those pop-up Halloween shops.

It's actually pretty cool that I landed a gig there because the store front it inhabited was right next to Michelle's work. So, when we'd work similar shifts, we'd hop into my car to head home together once we were both off the clock. But, work there was a grind. It was basically trying to keep kids from stealing things. And I got super sick from a mask I haphazardly tried on. It wasn't all bad, though: I did enjoy the decor and the franchise owner (i.e., my boss's boss) was a really cool guy.

Is Night Owl the best pumpkin ale I've had? Nope. Is it the best Elysian pumpkin ale I've had? Definitely. Is it the best pumpkin ale that's readily available? Depends on where you live, I guess. For the money, I know that I can do better in the Greater Cincinnati area. But, for the money, I could easily do so much worse. I'm giving the ale a 7.0/10. I'm mainly upset that Elysian wasted the name "Night Owl" on this instead of letting it go to a much more deserving beer.

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