Monday, October 22, 2018

14th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival Draws a Sold-Out Crowd

The 14th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival (GPBF) is quickly becoming one of the first signs of the fall season for many Seattleites. Supported by Elysian Brewing and hosted at the Seattle Center, this two-day pumpkin-packed event quickly sold out, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Volunteers shoot t-shirts into the crowd. Photo Credit: Elysian Brewing

GPBF is a great way to explore the many different forms pumpkin can take when brewed with your favorite beers and ciders. For each ticket, the $35 goes towards a commemorable tasting glass and six drink tickets, and included a glass of freshly tapped beer from the winning pumpkin at the 4th Annual Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off the weekend before. We arrived right on time when the tapping was just beginning. 

There was quite a bit of crowding to get a pour of the freshly tapped pitcher of beer. I appreciated the festivity of the ritual. After enjoying the free pour from the winning pumpkin, we set off to explore the wonderful world of pumpkin beer that GPBF had to offer.

Armed with a map and drink tickets, we began our journey inside, where we had 24 beers and ciders to choose from. We opted for Pumpkin Bier (pFriem), Rye Barrel Old Fashioned (Elysian), Barbarella Saison (Georgetown), Rosemary’s Sugar Baby (Elysian).

KEXP was spinning outside—I enjoyed the energy that a massive DJ booth and dance floor in the middle of the event. While enjoying the likes of Beyonce and Daft Punk we sought a break from the pumpkin-centric drinks at the Harvest Beer & Cider tent. We sampled Strat On (Elysian), Altair Fresh Hop (Ecliptic), Kama Citra (Elysian), Michigan Brut (Virtue Cider), and Centennial Fresh Hop (Backwoods). These tastings were the highlight of the event. 

Elysian brewers tap a 1,571 lb pumpkin filled with beer. Photo Credit: Elysian Brewing

We rounded out our beer journey at the outdoor and rooftop stations. The choices included Pumpkin Spice Cider (Seattle Cider), Dark Knife (Elysian), and Pumpkin Pear (Pear Up Cider). It was too cold and rainy, or I would have opted for a Boobird Pumpkin Porter Beer Float from Bluebird Ice Cream. They looked delicious. 

As a GPBF first time attendee, I now know why the annual event draws a sold-out crowd every year. Even though I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin beer, I found plenty of brews to enjoy at the festival. Tickets go on sale for the 15th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival on August 1st, 2019—mark your calendars now.

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