Night Owl

Elysian Brewing Company

Appearance

This pours a murky amber color that highlights a good mix of vibrant oranges and yellows under good light. More intriguing, however, are the pieces of sediment noticeably floating in the body. Their makeup is unknown but it certainly sparks interest knowing it’s a fresh batch. It produces a very thin and short-lived head, leaving behind nothing more than a hint of a surface coat.

Aroma

It smells like pumpkin pie in a glass. I get notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and graham cracker all tickling the nose. It smells as though it’s malt driven, with a heavy and sweet base. It has a cookie-like character and while natural pumpkin is questionable outside the visible sediment, the spices are really enticing and engaging.

Taste

This beer is sugary and sweet all the way through. The spice profile is immediately present and very strong. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar are likely all present. Together with the malt profile, I’m provided an extremely rich flavor of pumpkin, citrus and graham cracker. That’s right…citrus. I do get a bit of a lemon zest muddled within the malt and pumpkin spices. The back does a fine job of evening the malt out with some brighter hops. However the sugary sweet sensation persists all the way through the finish. The pumpkin flavor itself seems to be produced mostly from the spices, but the entire experience showcases a brilliant balance and dynamic complexity that I enjoy in a pumpkin beer. Pumpkin, citrus, perhaps even fruit…I am getting a mouthful of sensations the entire time.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium-bodied beer and stays smooth from front to back. It’s mildly carbonated which, matched with the spice profile, produces a slight sharpness on the palate. It’s crisp, somewhat toasty and is surprisingly drinkable considering its emphasis on so many ingredients.

Overall

I have yet to be disappointed by this beer. Elysian makes some amazing pumpkin options but I’d argue this has been their most consistent. A natural pumpkin ingredient may not be entirely discernible but the complexity and balance among so many aspects is what makes this one a hit. It provides a boldness in both the fundamental characteristics of a beer as well as in the seasonal spices. It tangos with a strong sweetness through its malt and hops make up, and even dabbles in a unique zest characteristic. If you like pumpkin beer, particularly the sweeter kind, you’re going to enjoy this pumpkin pie-like option.  I know I have, each and every time.

4.0