Beer: Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
Brewer: Elysian Brewing Company
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Description: Night Owl pours deep amber red with slight orange highlights and an off-white head that disappears quickly before leaving a fine collar on the beer. The aroma is absolutely amazing and has everything one would want from pumpkin ale. The scents of clove, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and all-spice jump out at the nose first and are backed up with subtle hints of sweet Munich malt and brown sugar. The taste follows the nose with spices hitting the palate up front before the sweet malt washes over, leaving the palate invigorated before hints of roasted pumpkin dance in and blend with the spices before dissipating from the palate with a long dry finish. Night Owl has a medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation that combines as the perfect vessel for delivering all the wonderful spices. While the market is certainly not short on pumpkin beers this time of year, there is a shortage in really good pumpkin beers. However, Elysian’s Night Owl is not a good pumpkin beer - it’s a great one.
Food pairing: The abundance of spices in this tasty beer make it a perfect match for a wide variety of desserts. A wonderful pairing with Night Owl is a decedent carrot cake; the spices will balance well and meld into the spices in the cake with the creamy icing highlighting the sweetness in the malt. There is, of course, a wonderful match with pumpkin pie as well, but also try this brew with a warm German apple cake. If you’re looking for a nice dinner pairing, try it with pumpkin ravioli and a creamy butter sage sauce. The creaminess of the sauce will add heft to the beer and the pumpkin flavors will play off one another for a great fall burst of flavor. Any of your favorite fall dishes could be kicked up a notch with this pumpkin beer.
The final word: Elysian’s Night Owl is a perfect example of what pumpkin ale should be, and is certainly a standout from the rest of overly spiced beers. Elysian is known for creating great beers, especially pumpkin ones. In fact, every year at the brewery they hold the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, featuring a plethora of great pumpkin beer and even a keg made out of a large carved-out pumpkin. Night Owl is an absolute must-have this time of year, along with all of Elysian’s other pumpkin beers. Be sure to try Hansel and Gretel, a pumpkin and ginger pilsner; Dark O’ the Moon, an incredible pumpkin stout; and the Great Pumpkin, an absolutely stunning imperial pumpkin ale.
Rating: W W W W V
Where can I get it? Currently available in bottles at: Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre; Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; J & H Beer, Wilkes-Barre; and Backyard Ale House, Scranton.
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Follow Derek’s beer blog at idtapthat.org.